Meet Pa.

(Yes, that’s me trying to give him a smooch in the background.)

His name is Benjamin Bennett.  He goes by Ben to most people, but as far back as I can remember, he’s always been “Pa.”  ‘Cause he’s my grandpa, you see?

Well… I guess technically he’s my step-grandpa.  But when I was younger, I didn’t understand all that.  He’s the most present grandpa I’ve ever known, so I bragged on him all the time.  (Considering the tone of my lily white skin, I always got the funniest expressions when I talked about my black grandfather.  People would squint at me, as if squinting would make my skin seem darker, too.)

But this isn’t about Pa being black.  This is about Pa being lovely.

Presently, Pa’s kinda losing it.  He repeats the same stories over and over.  But – oh! – what wonderful stories he tells.  What rich testimonies he has!  While Ma tends to swat him when he gets on a “back in the day” kick, I really don’t mind hearing those same stories time and again.  One day, when Pa is in heaven, I want to be able to recall in vivid detail the life that he remembers living.

One of the most shocking things about him is that he was conceived when his mother was raped.  And while today’s post isn’t about abortion, Pa’s life is the biggest reason why I can’t get on board with the “What if the woman was raped?” argument for abortion.

Well, then I wouldn’t have my Pa!

Pa was a literal “cotton picker.”  In fact, he’d get pulled from class just to go work the fields as a child.  He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and remembers grimly seeing his own friends lynched.  Recalling segregation in vivid detail, he still prefers Pepsi over Coke to this very day.  He insists that Pepsi was the black man’s drink and that Coke was the white man’s drink.  From a young age, Pa was gifted in mechanics and spent a majority of his lifetime working on cars.

Pa loves to share the story of the moment that he got on his knees and prayed that the Lord would “take the taste” of whisky away from him.  He was an alcoholic who didn’t know how to quit.  But having surrendered that battle to the Lord, he always beams, “I never had another drop of whisky again.”

But I didn’t know Pa then.  I knew him later.  I knew him when he wasn’t a partier, wasn’t a drunk, wasn’t angry or bitter, but was a man who loved Jesus.  When I was in high school, I attended church regularly with Ma and Pa.  Ma and I were basically the only two white people who attended this little, black Baptist church.  Pa sang in the choir.  (Oh, I WISH you could HEAR this choir!)  The music, the words, the mood, the Lord would move his heart so much, that he’d get to jumping and hopping in his place, tightly holding back tears and shaking his head as only a man who feels unworthy could know how to do.

That’s Benjamin Bennett to me.

Yeah, today he might not realize what he’s saying.  He might say something insensitive; he might say something inappropriate.  He really doesn’t mean any harm.

I’m not one to cry too much, even with the pregnancy hormones.

But writing this post marks the second time that I’ve teared up today.

The first time was at 3:30 this afternoon, when I met my son, Bennett.









To be continued…


  1. May 21, 2012

    Congratulations Suzy (and Brian!)!! So incredibly happy for you. And I love the name. I always wished I had been named after a family member. :]

  2. May 21, 2012
    Cindi Loretz

    I am all teared up with you! What a great testament to your Pa! Congrats on both your Bennetts!

  3. May 21, 2012

    🙂 love u Suzy! And my little nephew Bennett.

  4. May 21, 2012

    So awesome! A husband for Amelie? Ok. But seriously, you had me cryin! Love you and your new little man!

  5. May 21, 2012

    Awwwww!!! Yay! I knew it was a boy! So happy!

  6. May 21, 2012
    Donna Hodson

    Congratulations!!!!!!! I am so happy to know that I have a grandson on the way. Love the name!!!! Let the shopping begin…..Love you both!!!

  7. May 21, 2012

    So my prediction was wrong! I never have been good at that. LOL. Soooooo happy for u guys. What a wonderful story to tell your little man one day!! Bennett would be honored!

  8. May 21, 2012

    What a blessing…this post brought tears to my eyes. Pa is indeed a very special man, and will be so honored to have Bennett named after him. The love Pa has for God and his family…family by blood or by marriage has marked me in such a profound way. My life has been so much richer for having known this man. Thank you for honoring this loving man in such a wonderful way.

  9. May 21, 2012

    Congrats Suzanna!!! I’m so excited for you!!!! (I told ya I was right!)

  10. May 21, 2012

    congrats!!!! what an awesome story…your son will now have a great testament to share about his name!

  11. May 21, 2012

    My gosh crying…… Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Your sons name is going to make me smile knowing just the man he was named after!

    Yippy I was right!

  12. May 21, 2012

    Congrats Suzy! I love this post and the meaning behind your little boys name! I can’t wait to meet Bennett! 🙂

  13. May 21, 2012

    Oh Suzy! You’ve got me all teary eyed going into work this morning. I will smile all day long thinking about little Bennett and your Pa. Pa’s great life story and testimony will live on through Bennett. I love it. Hugs and kisses to you, Brian and Bennett. 🙂

  14. May 21, 2012

    Hooray!!!! let the shopping commence!!!! I’m so excited for you guys, Poppy and Grandma can’t wait to meet little Bennett. 🙂

  15. May 21, 2012

    Just woke up 2 min ago and went straight for this post…tears of joy to start my day! Im so excited for you both. Congratz on ur little guy 😉

  16. May 21, 2012

    You should be proud of Brian. We worked in the nursery together last night and he never breathed a word! Congratulations on your baby boy!

  17. May 21, 2012

    You know me an grandpas! I just started crying in the middle of the waiting area at my doctors appointment. Congratulations!!!!! I had to go back and read the rest of the blog after I text you lol. I got so excited I missed his little picture.

    Bennett we can’t wait to meet you!

  18. May 21, 2012

    Congratulations! What a great story and a great name!

  19. May 21, 2012

    Good gravy, I’m cryin’ too! A beautiful story and a great name!

  20. May 21, 2012

    Yippee! Thanks so much for sharing! I thought it would be a boy…. next one will be a girl.

  21. May 21, 2012
    Nicole K.

    What a wonderful story and tribute to your Pa! Congratulations!! Having a boy is such a blessing!!

  22. May 21, 2012

    AWEEEEE Suzanna!!! This is simply WONDERFUL and the most beautiful testiment to a well deserving man, your Pa. My heart sings for you, Brian, AND baby Bennett – love to all. XOXO

  23. May 21, 2012
    Katy Laulo

    Ahhhhhh congrats. Love the name. The meaning fits him well, especially in your amazing family. What a loving, thoughtful tribute to your ‘Pa’. Thanks for sharing your journey with us 🙂

  24. May 21, 2012

    What a wonderful name and story to go with it!

    do you have a middle name picked out or will there be none?

  25. May 21, 2012

    SOO precious…thank you for sharing that, Suzy. I too am part of your teary-eyed readers right now. I’m just so happy to have not only a great friend who is experiencing her first pregnancy at the same time as me, but now we have our baby boys in common now too. One of 6 sisters, I had never wanted a boy because I knew I would never understand how to raise one. But as your post makes me think about your Pa, I’m starting to be grateful now, to be entrusted with the privledge of raising up a godly man like him (I hope) to lead, and fight against injustices. This world needs some good boys, desperately. It sounds like little Bennett has some big shoes to fill, but I wouldn’t trust any other momma than YOU to help him get into them. And I LOVE the name!! 🙂

  26. Beautiful tribute, and such a special name! Thanks for sharing the meaning behind–I’ll think of your Pa whenever I see your baby! And I’m sooo excited that you’re having a boy!!! FUN!!!

  27. May 21, 2012

    There couldn’t be a more wonderful tribute to a man than to have his granddaughter name her first child
    after him. I learn new things about you and Brian each day and love them all.

    I am so happy your babe will have a meaningful name. Have you told your grandpa? I’m not sure how advanced his memory loss is from your description. I pray he can absorb the significance of your gift to him.

    Love you lots,


  28. May 21, 2012
    Janice Cline

    Not only am I thrilled to hear your news, but love the story that explains your name choice. Though I only know you through your mom and this blog, you have moved me to tears. Congratulations! And by the way, I guessed correctly.

  29. May 21, 2012

    What a beautiful story! Thanks so much for sharing Suzy!

  30. May 21, 2012

    I can not wait to meet Bennett! Yes, I love being right! Hmmm, maybe we can take him to the Nutcracker?! Not to be forgotten, you did a wonderful job with this post and tribute to the only grandpa you’ve known!

  31. May 21, 2012
    Aunt Linda

    What a beautiful story. As I read the last line through my watery eyes, my eyes flew open and I had to read it a second time. I am so happy for you both and I love the name. Can’t wait to go shopping.

  32. May 21, 2012
    charles armstrong

    Wonderful news , congratulations to Suzy and Brian. Bennett is a great name. Ben always made me feel a part of the family when I was courting Donna 17 years ago.

  33. May 21, 2012
    Adele Bernard

    Once again I am sitting here crying over this wonderful blessing! I am so happy you are having a boy and Bennett is the perfect name! I love you both so much.

  34. May 21, 2012
    Adele Bernard

    Thank you for sharing the story of Pa. He is such a wonderful man and has such a kind heart.

  35. May 21, 2012

    oh stop….you made me giggle-cry! that was sweet Suzy. i need tissue. tell Bennett hello….

  36. May 21, 2012

    i knew he was a boy. very impressed with the photo..isnt technology fantastic-to see a baby this early! amazing.

  37. May 21, 2012

    What a beautiful story. Each of our children has a name with great significance – they used to ask over and over about their names when they were little. Such a beautiful gift to give your little boy! Congrats again!

  38. May 21, 2012

    Oh so sweet. What a beautiful tribute to your Pa.
    Our Aaron is a similar story. I thank God that his birth mom chose to not have an abortion and was a Christian. And she chose us!!
    Love the name too.

  39. May 21, 2012

    I am so excited for your son to have the opportunity to read through all of these posts! What a treasure! I’m so excited for you and love the name. Family ties are so special and so important.

  40. May 21, 2012
    lisa mikitarian

    I’m tearing up, too.

  41. May 21, 2012

    What a wonderful way to tribute your grandfather. I don’t know how far his memory loss is based on your description, but you can tell him at every opportunity. You’ll probably get a different reaction each time. It may be easier for him to keep in memory once you are huge and obviously expecting. He may have mixed feelings about it as he may forget between meetings with you that you are expecting. Congratulations. And Donna hasn’t breathed a word to us girls either, we’ve had to come read everything from your wonderful announcement to the gender/name! You have a family capable of being quiet!

  42. May 21, 2012

    Suzy, we’re both so thrilled that it’s a boy, and what a story! We were both moved to tears. Love the name, and love you.

  43. May 22, 2012

    Congratulations, what a wonderful Grandpa you have and such amazing stories to tell Bennett as he grows up.

  44. May 22, 2012
    Margaret Treadwell

    Congratulations…what a wonderful name. My John is named after David’s “Papa” with whom he had a similar relationship…names are powerful…

  45. May 22, 2012

    Congratulations, Suzy! Such a beautiful story behind your little guy’s name!

  46. May 22, 2012
    Mary Kaye

    Beautiful story of Grandpa’s and babies. So happy for you. Touched my heart again.

  47. May 23, 2012

    Oh shoot! I really was a few days late to this party. haha. Bennett is such a solid name, and how touching that you are naming your son after your Pa. I’m tearing up now too!

  48. May 24, 2012
    Becca shaw

    How did i miss this?! Ahhhhh! Love it. Sweetest story (and revelation) ever 😉 little boys are just precious (ok, i am slightly biased)! Congrats!!

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