September 29th, 2018
He and Gabi are expecting their baby boy to arrive around Christmastime. Karin and I hope to visit them about a month from now. We want to make the drive down to Texas before the snow flies up here in the north country. We won’t be there for the birth of the child, but we will be there for the baby shower. That will have to be good enough.
Hans and Gabi have picked their son’s name. He will be called “Weston”. I am not sure why they picked that name, other than they like it. It sounds so redneck. I can totally imagine a boy growing up in southeastern Texas being named Weston. For me,”Weston” conjures up visions of pickup trucks, AR-15’s, and Shiner beer. It’s a natural.
Anyway, Hans called and slowly said, “Hey”, in his usual monotone.
I answered, as I always do, “What’s up?”
Hans drawled, “Oh…not much. Gabi and I wanted to know what y’all want Weston to call you.” (Note: Hans speaks like a Texan. Actually, he speaks more slowly than most Texans do. He’s a German kid from Wisconsin who found his natural habitat in the backwoods of the South. Go figure).
“I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought about it.”
“Well, you know…do you want him to call you ‘Grandpa’ or ‘Grandpa Frank’, or did you have some weird name that you want him to use?”
“Uh, yeah. Well, either ‘Grandpa’ or ‘Grandpa Frank’ is fine.”
“Okay, well, we just wanted to know. What do you think about Mom?”
“I’m pretty sure that she wants to be called ‘Oma’.” (“Oma” is how the Germans often refer to their grandmother. Karin is from Germany, and she definitely wants to be “Oma” to Weston).
Hans replied, “Yeah, Gabi and I figured that. Mom was always going to be ‘Oma’. We thought about calling you ‘Opa’, but somehow that just didn’t seem to fit.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Hans asked, “Are you excited about being ‘Grandpa’?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t been able to wrap my head around that idea yet. I’ll be okay with it when it happens.”
Hans said, “I haven’t been able to wrap my head around the ‘dad’ thing either. It’s coming anyway.”
Hans went on, “I haven’t been able to go to all the doctor’s appointments with Gabi. The doctor says that Weston is all healthy. That’s what matters.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I remember you had a rough start.”
“Yeah, I don’t want Weston to start off life like I did.”
Hans got serious, “I’ve been thinking about how to raise Weston. I don’t want him growing up thinking that he’s all ‘entitled’ and such. You know what I mean?”
“Yeah, I think I do.”
Hans kept going, “I don’t want Weston to think that people should just give him stuff, not like some young people I know. I want him to learn the value of hard work, like I learned from you. You always made me earn the things I wanted. I mean you’d help me out some, but I had to save my money to get stuff. Remember those laser guns I wanted? I had to pay half for them. I learned nothing was free.”
Hans continued, “I want Weston to learn respect. Young people, they don’t understand that.”
I replied, “Well, you got to respect him too. That works both ways.”
Hans sighed, “I know. I just want him to learn to respect people, especially his elders.”
Hans switched gears. “I was planning to take a couple days off while y’all are down here. I thought, you know, you and I could do something together. Maybe go shooting…or something.”
“Yeah, whatever you want to do. We’ll do stuff. You and me.”
Hans replied, “Yeah, I just thought that the two of us, we could do something.”
“We will. We’ll figure it out.”
“Okay, well, I just wanted to tell you what was going on.”
“Thanks for doing that.”
Hans said, “I love you.”
“Love you too.”