My final two tributes will be for my uncles! I wrote individual tributes to my aunts on their birthdays, but I got worn out from all the writing, so I decided to skip my uncles' birthdays and do two big posts (one for each side of the family) at the end featuring all of them.
I wish I had photos with each of my uncles from when I was a little girl, but I don't--my mom didn't have an iPhone to snap 100 photos at every family event, I suppose ;)--but I will include the photos that I do have.
My dad only has one sister, and her husband, my Uncle Paul,
has been one of my spiritual role models throughout my life. When I was
young, he served as the president of the church congregations in our
area, and though he was very busy with that responsibility, he always
made it to family birthday parties and to all of our important events,
such as high school musicals. It meant so much to us to have a big fan
club of cousins, aunts, and uncles in the audience at our plays, and I
remember Uncle Paul giving me a big hug after each of those
performances. I also remember one Christmas Eve at my grandparents'
house when my uncle shared a very sacred, personal experience that he'd
had, and he testified to us that Jesus is real, that He is our Savior,
and that He loves us. Though I was only a teenager at the time, his
words pierced my heart and I have never forgotten that special Christmas
Eve. Paul and his family were there for us when my mother died, out in
the waiting area of the Emergency Room, and he was there in the temple
for all of our weddings. He and my Aunt Jackie are examples of a
lifetime of service to church and family.
My dad has
three brothers. His older brother, Steven, passed away when my dad was
only a few months old. My grandparents have told me a lot about what a
sweet and happy baby Steven was, and they still cry when they talk about
his passing. It's a little crazy to think that my dad has an older
brother that he never knew! I know that we will all know him in heaven
My dad's younger brothers, Eric and Lewis,
were a very fun part of my childhood. Uncle Eric was our wild uncle who
would bounce us like crazy on the trampoline and call us a bunch of
"knuckleheads." I remember that he would threaten to give us "knuckle
sandwiches," and we would laugh hysterically and run away so he would
chase us. He had earrings and tattoos, which made him kind of awesome
to a bunch of young girls, and the best part was that he was (and still
is!) a total softie under that tough exterior. Like my dad, he has
three daughters whom he adores, and he also has a son whom he is very
close to, and he recently became a grandpa. I love seeing the photos of
him with his little granddaughter. The men in my family are baby
lovers, and it's the sweetest.
My Uncle Lewis ("Lew,"
as we call him) is easygoing to his core. He is quiet and kind, and
when we were kids, he would let us climb all over him and give us horsie
rides. Like my dad, he has a dry sense of humor and no one expects his
witty one-liners and retorts, which come out of nowhere and make
everyone in the room laugh. Also like my dad, he has a silly side that
he only pulls out for the people whom he is most comfortable with,
which makes it all the more hilarious and endearing. In his quiet way,
he's always made it very clear that he loves us loud, dramatic Westover
girls. I will never forget the one time in my life that I saw him get
riled up. When I was about seven years old, my mom walked away from me
in a store for a second, and a pervert cornered me and flashed me. I
was so shaken up, and my mom and I went to Lew's apartment which was
nearby so she could call the store and the police to explain what
happened. Lew was so furious when he heard what happened--I mean, he
was seething--and I overheard him talking to my dad on the phone saying
that he wished he could take a swing at that pervert. I couldn't
imagine quiet, calm Uncle Lewie taking a swing at anyone! It made me
feel good to know that my uncle would defend and protect me and would
stand in for my dad if he wasn't around.
I am grateful for these good men in my life, and I am so blessed to be their niece. I am excited to share about my uncles on my mom's side of the family tomorrow.