Sweet Adeline, it’s your very first Christmas. You’re only 10 days old.
There’s so much you don’t know.
About life and devotion, hopes and dreams, joy and sorrow, sickness and health — and the battles for every inch in between.
About a love story, three generations strong.
About the sweetness of the holiday season and the bliss of baseball season.
About a timeless romance, a frightful helicopter ride and the fight of a lifetime. About #NVRQT.
About a dad who is very sick but stares at your precious face and thinks: ‘‘You’re my world, my future, my reason to keep going.’’
About a mom who watches him hold you, their first child, and says: ‘‘I meant what I said when we stood in front of family and friends and committed our lives to each other. He gets to see love in action and not just in words.’’
About a grandfather, too. You’re his first grandchild. He’s many miles away, walking through his own cancer journey. He hopes to take his boy and you to Wrigley Field someday soon.
‘‘Wouldn’t that be wonderful?’’ he asks.
Sweet Adeline, Nicholas Blazek fights for you.
There was a time when all your dad wanted was to write about his favorite team, the Cubs. But the journalism world wasn’t knocking down his door in Charlotte, North Carolina, so he found an online network called FanSided and began to write for free. He’s 39 now and has long since worked his way to the top of the network’s Cubs site, Cubbies Crib. They pay him and everything and call him an ‘‘expert.’’
Last spring, though, he began having crippling headaches, struggling to focus, finding it next to impossible to write an entire article, let alone the 50 to 60 per month that was his typical output. Friends worried that he was depressed. Your mom, Sanekia — two months pregnant then — worried about the same thing.
They were visiting her family in Murphy, North Carolina, when everything went kind of crazy. Your mom called an ambulance. A smaller hospital called a helicopter to take your dad to a bigger one. The word is a real mouthful: ‘‘glioblastoma.’’ It was brain cancer. Stage 4.
Someday, you’ll understand what that means.
But you came along anyway, didn’t you? That’s part of what makes you so special. You’re a lot like your mom that way, for she took care of her family. She watched over you both, drove your dad everywhere, fought his fight just as surely as she nurtured you in her belly. When Dec. 15 arrived, it was a natural childbirth.
Everyone who has asked your dad about his cancer since has gotten the same answer: ‘‘Sanekia is by far the strongest woman that I have ever met in my life. She’s doing more than me.’’
And now you’re here. You’re everyone’s angel.
Sweet Adeline, your Uncle Danny was only 9 years old. He stepped off his school bus and ran into the road, and the rest is so very sad. Promise to always look both ways before you cross, will you?
After losing Danny, your grandmother decided she wanted another child, but Donald Blazek had undergone something called a vasectomy. What’s a guy to do? He had it reversed. Back in the 1970s, the rate of pregnancy after such a procedure was so low that, when your dad came along, they called him a ‘‘miracle baby.’’
May your family experience miracles again.
Not a week before your grandfather learned about your dad’s cancer, he was with his back surgeon. Taking walks, alone with his thoughts, had been his solace since losing Danny, but the back pain had become unbearable. The surgeon saw lesions on your grandfather’s spine. It was prostate cancer that had spread to his bones. Stage 4.
Donald told Nicholas he was up against it, too.
Your grandfather now walks for your dad, too, and for you. The pain is severe, but he puts one foot in front of the other the best he can. Your dad says his dad won’t talk about his own sickness.
Grandpa Donald is 81. He lives in Elkhart, Indiana, and has a message for you: ‘‘I’ve lived my life, Adeline. You’re my first grandchild. I just want Nicholas to have the opportunity to be with you growing up, going to college, everything.’’
Not to mention a visit to Wrigley for you all. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Sweet Adeline, your dad has Cubs stuff everywhere, especially in his home office. Included among the memorabilia are game-worn cleats from Jon Lester, who knows a thing or two about being sick. And about getting well.
‘‘There’s no ‘lose,’ ’’ your dad says. ‘‘That’s not in my thoughts at all.’’
Your dad can’t wait to start writing again. Full bore by the start of spring training? That’s his goal.
There is much he hasn’t been able to write. He isn’t on board with spending gobs for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. He predicts Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ will be the Cubs’ most improved hitters (if they aren’t traded). He envisions a three-way division battle with the Cardinals and Brewers going down to the brink of October.
It doesn’t sound all that important, does it?
Just know that your dad isn’t the sort of man who gives up. He’s darn sure all-in with you and your mom. He’d like to make a career of this journalism thing, too.
‘‘I hope somebody sees my work someday and says, ‘Hey, this guy’s not bad,’ ’’ he says. ‘‘ ‘He knows Cubs baseball.’ ’’
Your grandfather is from the West Side of Chicago. He remembers his first game at Wrigley, in 1944. It was his seventh birthday.
‘‘You see all that green grass,’’ Donald says, ‘‘and it just gets you.’’
Your dad grew up in Three Oaks, Michigan, 80 or so miles from the ballpark, and remembers many games, too. But the one that meant the most to him was in 2015. He sat in the bleachers with your mom. It was her first time.
‘‘That tradition will be passed down to her,’’ she promises.
You have a date with Wrigley. The grass is greener there.
It’s Christmas, sweet Adeline. Your dad says that and you are all that matter right now.
‘‘Having her here is the only present we need,’’ he says. ‘‘It will be a good day.’’
With everything he has, he’ll beat back the possibility that this is your last Christmas together. No, indeed. The men in your life only have begun to love you.
Just wait till next year.
Editor’s note: If you would like to help Nicholas Blazek and his wife with medical expenses, you can donate to his GoFundMe.