Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday America!

Happy Fourth of July! I have always loved The Fourth. For my family growing up, it was always swimming and cooking out and then fireworks! My dad always made sure to talk with us about what The Fourth means. I hope to leave with my children the same memories of this holiday that I have from my childhood. We haven't been to Thunder on the Mountain the past two years. We are planning on venturing downtown tonight to watch. I am very excited to see the fireworks for myself, and also the joy on the kids' faces as they see them! This will be Dillon's first time!

This year, and from now own, though, the Fourth of July means more to our family than just a celebration of America's Independence. This year marks the one year anniversary of Shea's grandfather's passing. Shea was very close to his Papaw, and as a result, Dakota was very close to him. Mr Layton used to take Dakota to the park all the time. They would go to Sneaky Pete's and load up on hot dogs and then go to the park and eat lunch. He brought bread for Dakota to feed the fish in the creek that ran past the park.
I hope Dakota can always remember that, because I know it was very special to his Papaw. Another one of Mr Layton's favorite past times was watching Dakota play baseball. He came to every game that his health would allow and he just thought Dakota was the best little baseball player ever! When Dakota made all-stars last year, Mr Layton could not have been more pleased. Sometime around the end of regular season and the beginning of all-stars was when he was admitted to the hospital for the last time. Dakota's all-star team made the state playoffs, and they happened to be held Fourth of July weekend in Northport. We had just arrived in Northport and checked into our hotel room when our cell phone rang. It was Shea's mom telling us that his Papaw had just passed away. We had been expecting that call, so when they hung up, we made Dakota sit down on the bed in the room and told him. He knew his Papaw's time to go to Heaven was coming, but was devastated when we told him that he had passed. It was very difficult to make the decision on whether we should stay for Dakota's tournament or go back home, but after talking to Shea's family, we decided that his Papaw would have wanted us to stay where we were and let Dakota play, so we did. We still talk about "Papaw L" often and hope to keep his memory alive with Dakota. His memory will always be alive with Shea and me and the rest of his family. He was truly a wonderful man who has been and will continue to be missed.

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