Thursday, December 13, 2012

What's in a name?

We all have them, we all use them daily and chances are that a lot of thought and time went into choosing them.  By now, many of you already know the name we've chosen for our son.  But with only a short couple of weeks to go before he makes his debut, I thought I'd make the official announcement:

Payton Parker Whigham

Early on, we tossed around several names that we liked - and eventually narrowed them down to a couple of finalists.  With my mom passing away earlier this year, I wanted to choose a name, for my son, that would honor her legacy and pay tribute to all she did for me, her son.

Throughout my life, mom often told us about all the fond memories she'd had during her childhood on Payton Road.  So when I became the executor of her estate, I wasn't surprised when I learned that the majority of her account passwords had "payton" incorporated into them.

It was as if from heaven, mom gave her input.

The name is not only a tribute to her, but also to my late grandparents.  I will continue to deeply miss them throughout my own adventures in parenthood, but I'm so very blessed to have been her son and their grandson.  I pray that I will be as much a blessing to Payton.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How could we forget?

September 11, 2001.

11 years.  Today, the term "never forget" is often used to mark the anniversary.  Never forget?  How could we.

There were so many things I personally remember about that day.  The piercingly clear blue sky will forever be etched in my mind.  Listening to the Morning X at my office desk as the first reports began to hit the airwaves.  Not fully grasping the magnitude of the event until seeing the first tower crumble.

But what I remember most are the days after.

We weren't republicans or democrats or independents.  We weren't conservatives, moderates or liberals.  It didn't matter our age, gender, race, or sexual orientation.  We were simply Americans.  One Nation under God.

How could we forget?  I pray that we remember more often.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Happier Birthday.

August 7, 2012.

Today would have been my Mom's 57th birthday.

As many of you may or may not know, she passed away during the early morning hours of March 3rd - which also happened to be Danielle's 30th birthday.  The timing was...well, just plain surreal.

In the hours prior to her passing, Danielle was at our church for an overnight youth group lock-in.  While she was out, I began decorating our house to surprise her when she got home.  However, the decorating festivities were interrupted by the serenade of distant tornado warning sirens - and I had to take cover in the basement from the onslaught as the tornadoes swept across the northern part of the state.

Around midnight, I finished all the "Big 3-0" decor and Danielle was able to make it home during a small break in the weather.  If the storms weren't enough to suck the wind, literally, out of the birthday surprise, the phone call from the hospice house that followed surely did.

Once we knew we had to get to Athens immediately, the next challenge was trying to navigate the torrential flood waters of Hwy 316 while dodging the barrage of lightning and negotiating the wind gusts along the way.  At times, we were literally the only vehicle on the road for miles behind us and miles ahead of us.  Crazy surreal.

Finally, as we made the last turn and approached the hospice house, the only light coming from the building was from the window of my Mom's room.  The power had been knocked out by the storms - and they were running off of a generator.  But we made it - and I was able to hold her hand as she peacefully slipped away.
Needless to say, the only celebration that day, was in knowing that Mom was finally free from the pain of this world and home with our Heavenly Father.

Mom always had a flair for the dramatic - and the way she departed was no exception!

We found out that Danielle was pregnant on April 24th.  The first person I wanted to call was my Mom.  In the month prior to her stay in hospice, I'd told her how we were trying to get pregnant.  Despite how crappy I knew she felt physically, I could tell how genuinely happy and excited she was to hear the news.

After our last doctors appointment, it was time to schedule the ultrasound that would reveal whether we're having a girl or a boy.  The receptionist asked us if August 7th would work:  Mom's birthday.  Maybe a coincidence, but I don't think the timing could have been scripted any better.

I've said before, that my mom groomed me to be the man I am today, so that I could be the husband I am to the love of my life and soul mate. It's bittersweet, that the day God brought my wife into this world to be my second half, he also called the woman, who prepared me for her, home to Him.

Happy Birthday Mama.  I love you and miss you every day - and you're going to have a grandson.