• Julee Wilson

Thousand Reasons Thursdays - Special Post

Today is my dad's birthday. He would be 82 today. He's been gone for 6 1/2 years but it only feels like 6 1/2 months. I am so grateful that he recognized Jesus as his Lord and Savior 8 weeks before the Lord took him home. I am beyond grateful (and a bit jealous!) that he is hanging out with Paxton and his mom (my grandma) right now, and some day we will be reunited for eternity!

Here's a little excerpt from the memoir that I wrote yesterday:

This is my favorite family photo of us!

The days moved quickly and became a blur. Paxton grew stronger and quickly became the doll of the NICU. Most babies are in the NICU for just a few weeks, some a few days, but now we were a “fixture” there, going on over two months, and looking at a total of three before we could take him home. Every nurse and doctor in the department knew who he was and he probably had the most visitors of any of the babies. We were constantly approving the visitor list, so different family members and friends could stop by to see him.

The most faithful daily visitors, besides Casey and I of course, were my parents. My mom was one who was religious about her daily routines and had a habit of walking around Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park 4-5 times as her daily exercise regimen. She would then come by and see Paxton before going back home and getting on with her day, helping my dad run his limousine company. She was always very interested in how Paxton was doing, what cute, tiny outfit he was wearing, and usually had some adorable little gift or card for him, depending on the occasion. He had already received his first Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day cards from her and “Grandpa.”

My father was a self-made man. Having been a bus driver for Greyhound for 27 years, retiring after the buyout by Trailways, and trying his hand as a partner in his own charter bus company, which was poorly run by the other partners, an opportunity fell into his lap to be his own boss. A young couple who were friends of a friend were selling their small limo company, and my father saw the opportunity and bought it, Lincoln Towncar, client list, and all. He grew the company over time, mostly doing all the driving himself with me helping out whenever I wasn’t flying, and my mom doing the billing. He was a proud, fun-loving man with an infectious smile and quirky, sarcastic sense of humor, but boy, could he hold a grudge! He worked hard, long hours, but when he did take a break, he was present in every way and made his time count, especially if I asked him.

He made it a point to come visit Paxton every day as well. Sometimes my mom would come back for a second visit with him, and sometimes he was by himself. He was very proud of his first and only grandchild and brought him little trinkets when he could.

The San Francisco Giants had just had their opening day and, to celebrate, Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream was serving single scoops in a little plastic commemorative ball cap. Casey had seen a commercial for it on TV, and had mentioned something to my dad. They were both Giant’s fans.

“It looks like it might be the right size to fit on Paxton’s head, it’s so small!” Casey had joked to my dad one evening when my parents were with us by Paxton’s bedside. My dad laughed and shook his head like it was silly, but showed up a couple of days later with a rinsed-out plastic Giants cap for Paxton to put on top of his isolette for baseball season.

Casey and I were both wearing our Giants caps, and Casey was in the rocker holding Paxton when my dad walked in. He placed the ice cream Giants cap on top of Paxton’s isolette and we both shouted at the same time, “You got one?!!”

“Yep!” He replied with a sheepish grin on his face.

“Babe!” Casey said through laughter, “Put it on his head and see if it fits!”

So, I grabbed it and we were both amazed that it fit almost perfectly. Of course, poor Paxton had no idea what was happening and moved his head from side to side, trying to see what was on top of it. Once Paxton had started interacting with everyone more, we always had a camera handy for moments like these. My dad grabbed my camera that was on a side table and said, “Get together and let me take a picture of you all with your hats on!”

We took a couple of pictures and then it was my mom’s turn to hold Paxton.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. See you soon!

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