Father in Laws (Day 29, Year 2)

Over Christmas, I was eavesdropping on my son interviewing his Papa, my father-in-law, about his time in Vietnam. My son, who is only 9 years old, is relentless when he interviews someone. I am not sure Bob, my father-in-law, was prepared for the onslaught and to answer questions about a time was painful. But, like always, Bob was patient, present in the moment and never seemed to sweat Nick's very direct, difficult questions. 

He's always available in that way. Even when he does not say a lot, you just know he is listening. And it's a good thing, because we've got a lot of problems and my kids only have one grandfather.

I am glad it is Bob Adkins that they've got in their corner. 

Oh and today's his birthday! So, of course this Yoke is for him!

I first met Bob when I was 16 years old. He will tell you that they believed I did not speak much.  The truth is I just did not speak to Mike's parents because I did not know them, they were adults and I was 16 years old, standoffish and at the time had zero intention of knowing them for very long.

Despite my early lack of interacting, Bob always made an effort to talk to me and get to know me. I'd like to believe it is because I am so special, but it is really because Bob is so special. I've seen him do this with everyone he encounters. He listens to stories from my family and is truly interested in learning about me. He shares stories from his own family. When he visits from Ohio, he takes the time to sit and chat with my mom. He talks to each of my kids about the things that are important to them. This Christmas, he gave Lily a family bible in honor of her upcoming confirmation. It's a special gift--one infused with family history and faith and love. 

When all the grandchildren were little and Bob was not yet retired, he used to allow them to tackle, wrestle and torture him like he was a living jungle gym. I am certain he went to many business meetings with scratches and black eyes. I often heard my mother-in-law laugh and say,"why do you let them do that to you?" Bob would answer with just a shrug and a laugh. He loves his grandchildren and if a living jungle gym is what they want, well he's up for it. 

I asked my kids their favorite thing about their Papa. Nicholas said his favorite thing is to talk to him because he is smart. Chloe said her favorite thing was "everything" and she just "likes Papa." Lily said that hers would sound cheesy but she loves that her Papa always knows exactly how to make her smile. 

I don't think there is anything cheesy about it. Bob works hard to make us all smile.  I am lucky to have such a solid, kind father-in-law. Father-in-laws like Bob are special. They are bonus Dads we meet when we are adults (and sometimes teenagers). 

For me, my favorite thing about my Father-in-law is that he is there for all of us. I miss my own Dad a lot; but it is so special to have such a wonderful bonus Dad. 

Happy Birthday, Bob!