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Anyone else have an Uncle Bob? Through immediate, extended and bonus families, I have a few Uncle Bob’s in my world. They all seem to have an ornery side and are looking for fun (or trouble!). 

My #1 Uncle Bob was the oldest of 3 boys; Uncle Bob, my dad then my Uncle David. My Grandma had her hands full!! They grew up on a farm raising and growing everything they could. They were driving tractors long before a driver’s license. There are a few stories of Uncle Bob hot rodding a tractor. Not surprising if you knew him!

A small town farm in a remote area in southern Illinois was hard living. Papaw and Grandma did what they could, but it wasn’t quite enough. When Uncle Bob was 19 and my dad was 17, they loaded up a Uhaul truck and moved to a small town in central Indiana with cousins they only knew through letters written between their parents. Soon, my Grandma, Pappaw and Uncle David moved to Indiana as well. It became their new home. 

Over the years, the boys grew up and started their own families. I have vivid memories of spending Christmas Eve at Grandma and Papaw’s. Our stockings were handmade by Grandma, with our names on them, hung in the doorway between the living room and dining room. We would eat our meal, but the dishes had to be cleaned and put up before we headed for the Christmas tree! By the end of the evening, the cousins built the annual human pyramid in their living room. 

Even though Grandma and Papaw passed away when I was 8 and 10, they instilled into their sons the importance of family. Now the three boys had the responsibility to keep the family connected as we went in different directions. As their families grew and jobs changed, we periodically went out to eat or went to each other’s house to share a meal. Nelson Thanksgiving at my house and Nelson Christmas at my cousin’s house have been our gathering times over the last several years. We also intermingled small visits here and there with one another as well. The importance of family and staying connected carried on from one generation to the next. 

Uncle David passed away much too young due to a brain tumor. My dad passed away from the side effects of cancer. Uncle Bob, being the oldest, checked in on all of us on a regular basis. “Love ya kiddo.” and hearing his laughter were two of my favorite Uncle Bob memories. Recently, he too, has gone to enjoy his Heavenly home. 

With the three boys reunited with Papaw and Grandma, we cousins now carry the responsibility to pass along to the generations to come the importance of family and staying connected. We do so by living the example they have given us.

The Nelson cousins do not live in the same towns let alone the same state. Getting everyone together at the same place at the same time is nearly impossible. Physical distance may keep us apart but the love of family binds us together. I’ve gone to visit my cousin in Florida a couple of times. We talk and text periodically. No matter how long it’s been since our last conversation, our family connection is our foundation as we grow over time. 

Weddings and funerals have a tendency to cause us to pause and take a look around. During the time of the loss of Uncle Bob and making immediate plans, we have leaned on one another. We’ve asked each other for their thoughts and desires. We’ve turned to one another to provide what a stranger can not, comfort of family. 

Families come in all shapes and sizes. I am blessed to have a few “Uncle Bob’s” in my world. You have been placed in the family Christ desired you to have. Embrace each other and remind one another of the comfort and peace of family.

God created man and woman because He didn’t want to be alone. He gave man and woman to each other so they could create more family to love, spend time with and care for one another. We are created to have a family bond with one another. 

I am eternally grateful for my grandparents instilling in their sons the importance of staying connected with family. It’s now up to us to continue on, staying connected and loving one another as we pass along the same to others around us.

Uncle Bob, Dad and Uncle David, you are sorely missed yet I’m eternally grateful for being a part of the Nelson family.

Thanks for sharing a moment with me. We are in this together, connected in Him. 

Share this moment we’ve shared with someone else. You can find more blogs and podcasts at my website: Be blessed and see you next time

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