As faithful readers know, my father recently passed away. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but in one final breath, I became the patriarch of the Ton family (going back at least four generations). It is now my responsibility to pass on the stories, to pass on the traditions, to respect the past and those who have come before. 

One of the joys of the last few years has been taking my grandsons, Braxton and Jordan, to visit my dad, Popper (or great-Popper) – to see his face light up when those little guys would bound into his room, show him their new games, or demonstrate their latest artwork. Dozens of images come to mind…Braxton pushing my dad in his wheelchair on the last Thanksgiving he would visit our house, or crawling onto his bed to play games with him when Dad could no longer get up. Jordan telling a story so funny both of them were laughing and giggling, or Dad wearing Jordan’s Easter hat to the delight of the little red-head. 

Two months almost to the day of dad’s passing, we welcomed Jasper Bryant Ton into the world. The second son of my second son. What an amazing joy to hold that little life in my arms, to look into his eyes. I could not help but think of my dad. He did not have a chance to meet Jasper, but I know he would adore him. My heart was overflowing with love. 

Braxton’s and Jordan’s memories of their time with my dad will fade, Jasper has no memories to fade.  Yes, there are pictures, hundreds of pictures, but it will be the stories that provide the connection. I want them to know of his laugh, his smile, his compassion, his goofy sense of humor. Most of all, I want them to know of his love, love for my mom, love for his family, and love for his fellow man and woman. 

I treasure the moments I have with my kids and my grandkids. Even on days when I am preoccupied with work, or too tired and crabby to be patient, or when there thousands of tasks that don’t get done. I celebrate my role as patriarch – to tell stories of Mary Ellen and Gene, Lawrence and Sara, Hallie and Mary and the generations who came before. 

Welcome to the world, Jasper Bryant Ton. You have been born into a family that loves you dearly. You have been born into a family with an amazing story. I can’t wait to share it all with you. 

 

3 replies
  1. Meaghan Shaffer
    Meaghan Shaffer says:

    There is quite a bit of science on generational trauma and the way it is passed down and held onto. I have to think the same is true for generational love. Braxton and Jordan’s memories may not be solid, but I’m willing to bet they have flashes of these times, memories of that feeling you get when you know you are safe and adored and loved. And certainly all of them, including Jasper, will reap the benefits of who your Dad was because you will pass it down, as will your sons.

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  2. Tracy Robbins Smith
    Tracy Robbins Smith says:

    I’m sorry for the loss of your father, Jeff. I can tell that your stories will breathe life into him for your grandsons. This is a beautiful piece. Congrats on the new edition! Jasper is truly blessed to have been born into a family with a patriarch who will ensure the stories of his family are passed to him in living color.

    Reply
  3. Patrick Spencer
    Patrick Spencer says:

    Jeff, a fantastic time in your life for sure, and you know how I can relate now with my first grandchild born just two months ago. It is an amazing gift from God we have and, like you, I cherish the moments with him as I look in his eyes and just can’t wait to tell him stories of our family and the love that surrounds him.

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