I know this is a writing blog. However, I also feel that I have developed a real relationship with those of you who read on a regular basis, and so this morning I want to share some photographs from this weekend that will do a better job than my words when it comes to telling this part of the story.
First, and I know this could be a long post all by itself, I got to enjoy some quality grandaddy-time with five-month-old David. This opening photo may not show the brightest smile or the most compelling pose… but it tells the story, and I believe that’s what the best images do. My weekend with David was a series of negotiations around, “Who is this goofy-looking guy and why do his eyes fill up with tears whenever he looks at me?” and, “But there’s something about him? I guess I could smile at least once in a while…”
This pic was taken yesterday, on my birthday. What an unforgettable birthday present, to have the entire family at home – it’s the best I could have dreamed.
Second (of seven), Rebekah got to enjoy David too. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that she is head-over-heals in love with our grandchild. And David knows it. It’s obvious he can sense exactly what’s going on when Rebekah holds him.
There’s a lot of data out there about the dangerous effects of neglect and isolation when a child’s development is getting under way. Babies literally absorb the love and the caring and the interaction around them. David knows how deeply he is loved and cared for, he knows the truth of it down to his bones. And he sees the truth of it so vividly in his grandmama Rebekah.
Number Three: David’s Dad and his Mommy love him, and they love one-another too. OK, friends, this is huge. Rebekah and I say this to young families all the time. The best thing anyone can do for the health and wellbeing of their child is to love each other like crazy. Dads, wanna do what’s right for your kid? Love their mom. Moms, wanna help your child thrive? Love, love, love their dad.
I do a lot of writing for coach Tony Dungy’s AllProDad.com website. The number one thing I tell these guys – over 100,000 per month – is, “Your best dad thing possible is to love and respect and serve their mother.” Way to go, son-in-law Craig; you are so taking care of my grandson!
Four: Short version of a long story. Naomi’s best friend growing up, Katie (Ronan), came over for lunch Saturday with her husband, Pat, and their daughter, Isla. There are lot’s of great pics I could share, but we have this baby theme going so here’s just the two of them together.
Okay, not just a baby theme but a cuteness theme. Good grief. You absolutely have to go to my facebook page and take a look at the rest of these photographs. They’re too many and too wonderful to pack into a blog post. Ditto the David pics in our back garden.
Five: Talking of the MaulHall garden pics, here’s a sample. David himself wasn’t so sure about the game we were playing, “They keep propping me up and running away. Then they yell ‘Smile David!’ Ridiculous… like I’m going to do that….”
But I was seriously impressed with David’s patience with his parents and grandparents. This picture is only one of a dozen “keepers.” Like I said, cuteness and lots of it.
One note about the hat. It was his uncle Andrew’s hat back when he was a baby. We have some photos of Andrew wearing it when he was around a year old, fishing with his grandaddy Bob. Oh, the stories a good picture can tell.
Six: We’re winding down here; only so much space in a blog post. Monday was all day go-to-the-airport day. First up was Andrew. We headed to Tampa International around noon and he flew to Charlotte, Paris (I think) and then Pisa. Andrew’s all, “Enough with the photos dad! You’re like the paparazzi.”
Fair enough. But here he is anyway. Safe travels and thanks for being so committed to the idea of family that you flew in – last-minute – all the way from Italy. “Travel Guy” saves the day!
Seriously, Andrew’s determination to be at significant family events is a heart-warmer we’re so grateful for. What a great son!
Seven, and last: Late afternoon I drove Naomi-Craig-David over to Orlando for their flight to Connecticut. Again with the gratitude. Craig didn’t just say, “I support you going to Florida, Naomi.” Instead he said, “I’m doing what’s necessary to come along too.”
Maybe Geoff was just that cool an uncle! Well, yes. And maybe we’re just that blessed as a family. Whatever it is, Rebekah and I recognize how good this phenomenon is, and we’re grateful for the quality of love that brings us together.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! – 1 John 3:1
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.