To those who knew him way-back-when, he’s Ricky; thousands call him Pastor Rick, Tori, Hope and I call him Dad, but to the grandkids, he’s known as Tato.
“Tato” is Ukrainian for father, and though Hope originally gave Dad this name, Sophie, Will and Lillie don’t know him any other way. They don’t think it is weird to see his face on a big screen when we visit TPC on Sundays, and they don’t even wonder why we can watch him speak on the internet. (I guess they think that’s how it is with all granddads…)They aren’t impressed by what he does nor do they have unrealistic expectations of who he is. I think they are more accepting and place less pressure on him than anyone else in his life. Knowing Dad as “Tato” is different than knowing him as Ricky, Pastor Rick, or even as Dad, so I thought it would be fun for those of us on the journey with Dad to see him through the eyes of his grandkids.
Q: How old is Tato?
Sophie: 53 (just a little off…)
Will: No, two, two!
Q: What is Tato’s favorite color?
Sophie: yellow (score one for Sophie)
Will: No, blue, blue! (That’s Will favorite, not Tato’s)
Q: What is Tato’s favorite food?
Sophie: oranges (well she got the color right…)
Will: Cheetos! Cheetos! Cheetos! (that’s more like it…)
Q: What are your favorite things to do with Tato?
Sophie: Go to the movies with him like Alvin and the Chipmunks and eat popsicles and popcorn in the bed.
Will: I sleep [with] Tato! (Mom and Dad’s bedroom turns into a frat house when Will spends the night, and girls are not allowed! During these frat meetings, Will has been given his first cheeto, and I believe his first coke, (though this last fact has neither been confirmed nor denied))
Q: How do you know Tato loves you?
Sophie: His hugs and his smiles
Will: He sing me “Bird Song” (He Loves Me Too with about 55 verses added; and far be it for Will’s mother to not sing this song exactly as Tato sings it!)
Note: Lillie would like to point out that she is only seven weeks old and therefore unable to answer any of the above questions; however, she would like for it to be noted that she was the only one of Tato’s grandchildren to be present for his surgical biopsy, follow-up appointment with the surgeon, or meeting with the oncologist. She would like Tato to know that while her siblings “talk the talk” of supporting him, she’s the one “walking the walk.”
Tato can rest assured that Sophie, Will, and Lillie are loving him and praying for him on every step of his cancer journey. They are so excited about rubbing his new bald head and maybe even decorating it a bit! They are so very thankful
that of all names he goes by, they get to call him Tato!