Opapa's Visit

December 12, 2009

Dear Teo,

Last weekend your Grandpa Ben flew out from Oklahoma for a visit. You will know him as Opapa (German for Grandpa).  We had a wonderful time with him.  One thing that I noticed about your Opapa was his open, generous heart. He was obviously delighted in you from the moment he saw you. He never tired of talking to you, telling you the names of things, playing pat-a-cake with you, and getting you to smile.

Your Opapa has a lot to share with you about your family history.  He is a member of the Creek Indian nation, and he finds a lot of meaning in his Native American heritage.  He likes to call you Nokose, your Creek middle name (meaning "bear").

Opapa brought some special gifts for you, including a hand-carved ceremonial bear rattle, a stone bear totem, a beautiful pair of moccasins, and a lizard fetish which is made to hold your umbilical cord.  He also gave you a book about bears.  He wants to pass things on to you that will continue to be meaningful to you for your whole life - things that represent your connection to the Creek culture.

During Opapa's visit we went to a Christmas tree farm. A horse-drawn wagon took us to a field of trees of various types and sizes. We spent about twenty minutes searching for just the right tree. Then your papa cut it and we rode back in on the wagon. Opapa and I drank hot cider while papa got the tree on the car.

When we got home, papa and Oceana got the tree ready, and papa put up Christmas lights on our house. The next day, the decorating continued.  Oceana and Opapa and I made paper snowflakes to hang on the window.

Opapa's visit was a wonderful Christmas gift. We hope to visit him and his wife, Mary Louise, in Oklahoma sometime soon. We really want you to get to know him. His kindness and wisdom will nurture you as you grow.


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