I knew him as a boy: not a young boy, more a boy on the cusp of manhood, and I really liked what I knew.
Time, distance, and paralleled worlds took us in different directions. The boy grew up and became a man the world recognized as the hero;
I'd recognized him years earlier as so much more. In him I saw the best of his ancestry and the sculptor for the best of the future.
A hero, decorated for his courage, his wisdom, and his honor, but I saw beyond the blinding glitter of light off those many future medals...I saw the loving human being who is
generous, strong, protective, and with a core of integrity that multiplied in the years we traveled those different paths.
Eric is my brother, not through biology, at least not for me.
He does share biology with my children. He is their uncle; my brother not by birth, not even by the system of legal checks and balances, edicts and codicils. He's my brother because
I love him, the man, the father, and blessedly
the uncle he's determined to be, since I loved and liked the boy he'd been.
He's married now to the love of his life,
who confirms to me that he is equally the love of her life. The bond they share is breathtaking. He's the father of five,
two biologically, and
three from the depths of that loving core, a fountain overflowing with love and honor.
When you bring Eric's name up while talking to those children you can hear
the smiles in their voices and feel the indulgent warmth radiating from their words.
How can you not look at this picture of a big man gazing with such awe into the face of his grandchild, his big hands offering a safe and secure well for that child's unwavering sense of belonging?
A man who folds his strapping length in half so he can squat at eye level to give his young granddaughter his undivided attention?
So many years have kept us apart, my children not knowing the magic that emanates from this good man...this man who is their uncle by birth, but they did not remember...
yet when my son recently got married Eric proudly flew across the country, to stand shoulder to shoulder, beside this nephew time and circumstance had kept him from knowing until then.
You can see the joy on the faces of both these men that I love from the depths of my heart and Eric's neighbor. Don't you just love the faux coffee table between them all? Felling wood for your winter fuel can give you bonuses.
Eric brought laughter back into our lives with charm, determination, and love. How could we not laugh when he sends us picture like these? We love the striking pose Eric forms while in minus
20 degree weather
with other members of this country's Heroes in Alaska.
Eric as Laird Eric.
Eric, from his duties around the world, never fails but to send us pictures
to show us the true Eric,
the captivatingly funny man we love and respect. These pictures always make us smile and fill with pride, how could they not?
Father's Day is coming and Ret, Lt, Colonel Eric Rydbom is the kind of man that makes the rest of us honor the day that celebrates the boy I knew, the man he became, and the father figure who blankets all of us now lucky enough to claim ownership of this man as family, (And Eric, we ain't giving you back.)
Happy Father's Day to the Best Father I have ever seen in my near sixty years of life,
Love You Little Bro.
Lin (Your Big Sis.)