Wednesday, April 18, 2012


At present, my son Hudson is obsessed with three things: his dad (Daddy-O!), airplanes (nnnnneeeeeooooowwwww), and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. When it comes to the latter, he's been adamant and consistent about the fact that regardless of what TV Guide or the opening credits say, the show is called Minnie.

Each morning, it's the first word that comes out of his mouth. "MINNIE!" he'll yell and point down the stairs. He'll watch two episodes and drink a cup of milk while we shower, dress, and get ready for work.     "Minnie!" he'll yell when the second episode ends. "No more Mickey," we'll say. "Minnie!" he'll correct us.

Yesterday afternoon, I had picked Huddy up from school and we were on our way home. He seemed happy to see me, but I could tell he was a little disappointed that dad wasn't with us. As we drove south on the Interstate, he spotted a white speck in the sky. "Airplane!" he yelled happily. "You know, Huddy," I replied, "Daddy's on an airplane right now. He's on his way to Kentucky. He went to say night-night to Uncle Mickey." I didn't know how else to say it.

Within seconds, Hudson had moved on to yelling out the names of the other things he spotted through the windshield—Big truck! Trees! Nan-nan! (his word for motorcycle)—but my mind was still on Logan's journey.

Just five months ago, we made the trip to the Bluegrass State as a family. It was my first time in Kentucky, and it was truly wonderful. I met four generations of Logan's family and they welcomed me with open arms. It meant so much to Logan to be there with all of them, and to introduce them to his own little family.

On Thanksgiving day, we visited Twin Oaks Assisted Living where I had the honor of meeting Uncle Mickey and Aunt Betsy. Hudson was fascinated with them, in particular when Uncle Mickey clenched his hands, touched the tips of his seemingly quadruple-jointed pointer fingers, and asked, "Can you do this, Hudson?" as he wiggled them side to side. When I looked up at Logan, he too was staring in awe at Uncle Mickey. He whispered: "I totally remember him doing that to me when I was a kid." It was a moment I will never forget.

Last night, I followed bath time (normally Daddy-O's duty) with our latest bed time routine: 5 books and 3 songs. I tucked him in and said what I always say, "I love you, Woozles. Can you say night-night to  Momma?" He waved, as he normally does. But then, as I started to walk out of the room, I heard Hudson say something. "What was that?" I asked.

"Night night, Mickey," he said. And I was so happy to know that he, too, remembers.

Dr. Layton "Mickey" Rouse (1919-2012)

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