You come from story tellers. Your mama’s family likes to tell stories. Gran and Papa would keep us at the dinner table for hours telling stories. Your Uncle Andrew put his stories into words on a page that seemed to come together effortlessly. Your mama and your Aunt Laura tell stories with a million details, more than half of them not needed.
It’s what we do. We tell stories. I hope in the deepest parts of my heart that the two of you become story tellers, too. I pray that you love words the way we do and you find them and twist and spin them into a picture in someone’s mind or an image popping out of a page full of type.
I also pray that you listen to and remember the stories you hear. These tales told around a dinner table or on an overstuffed couch or in the quiet moments with our heads on pillows are your stories, as much as they are mine. They tell of your roots, and the retelling of them spins gossamer wings to help you fly high and far.
Remember the stories of baseball games at Tiger Stadium. Some day you can look at pictures of that old park on the corner and say, “My Papa used to watch games there, and then my mama took him to one of the last games on that field, and she didn’t even know my daddy yet, but he was there, too.” While you may have never been in those seats, you have become part of the story of that stadium.
Remember the stories of me and daddy before you even existed. Remember that daddy proposed the night we went to see The Polar Express on the IMAX screen. And he knelt on the floor with a ring in his hand a fortune cookie paper in mine. Remember that we got married outside on the hottest day in three years. Remember that we lived in a tiny rental Craftsman house for that first year. Those are the stories that led us to you. They are your history, too.
Remember the stories of each of you being in my belly and making your way into this world. Remember that I craved fruit with one of you and veggies with the other. Remember that I wanted nothing but steaks for half my first pregnancy and couldn’t stand meat for the second pregnancy. Remember that the very first time I ever felt a baby kick the inside of my belly I was sitting in a meeting in Detroit and thought my pants were just too tight. Remember that my second little baby came into this world in a crazy puddle-on-the-floor-of-the-McDonald’s-playland-14-hours-later-finally-getting-unstuck whirlwind way. Remember that the first time I held each of you and said hi you both stopped crying and just looked up at me. Those are your stories, and I just tell them for you until you learn them.
Remember the stories of why we call you Roo and Monkey. Remember the stories of Diaper Dash races and Christmas surprises. Remember the stories of naughty moments and proud ones. Remember your stories.
Then tell these stories. Tell them to your wives and then to your babies. Tell them to me when I am old and sitting in a chair on wheels and sometimes forget where I am. Tell them because the sharing of those words that are a part of who you are makes your heart smile. Tell them because you are a storyteller and you can’t not tell them.
You come from story tellers. It’s what we do. Listen, and remember, and tell your stories, my babies.