those we lived through with no medical insurance,
buying new tires every six months to replace the ones worn bald from country back roads to school,
and your daddy~
going to school full time, driving two hours round-trip,
working evenings at the community health clinic,
pulling 12-hour shifts all weekend in the hospital E.R.,
and always being a husband who provided,
a father who sheltered and made secure our home,
the man who never slept always dreamed.
After the "dark" years between Air Force service, when we never really knew we were poor~
After those years we began to dream of you again.
Your daddy put the Air Force uniform back on,
wearing bars of butter on his shoulders to fill the bread baskets full. I asked for another mouth to feed. Just one I promised. And we delighted in another son. I had promised, just one. But who are we to decide when our family has had its fill? All those days towards Benjamin turning one, and me looking for the face that was missing from the table gathering. We were not all there.
And then we were.
Samuel Grady Benton
June 14, 2001
You are the one who closed the circle of hands around our table.
You have taken that seat and we have all baby-watched in wonder these years
as you have risen towards manhood.
We have wrestled your will, each of us, and marveled at the strength you possess not to break,
the wisdom you have in learning to bend. Ah, your mind is beautiful, Sam.
But your heart is what holds ours close.
We love that you live.
Happy Birthday, Sam.
I thank my God every time I remember you.
...and these are the graces I thank Him for...
1497. the closeness you have demanded from me since I brought you home from the hospital ~ your devotion honors me
1498. your hugs, hand holding, and smiles
1499. your bravery in digging deep to resolve conflict ~ oh you are so small to have learned such big lessons
1500. your amazing mind ~ the things you observe, the questions you always have
1501. you get lost in books
1502. you could read all day
1503. you love to sing
1504. you aren't embarrassed to let your inside joy live outside
1505. Wasgau Wednesday coffee dates with you
1506. you still play with stuffed animals
1507. you play the piano beautifully
1508. you dream big dreams
1509. you give generously
151o. you manage money well
1511. you love chocolate and coffee
1512. you are a thinker
1513. you are my son
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Philippians 4:8
And I know you will. I love you, Favored One.