To Be a Grandfather
For six and a half long, glorious, happy years, I was the most important person in the Universe. Or well, at least in my family, until my mother remarried and then ruined everything by having my brothers*. I had been the only grandchild on either side. We are not breeders, so I am to this day the only female descendant in my entire generation.
Lucky me! I got all the attention, love, presents and admiration 20 or so grownups could dole out. But the ones who really mattered, the ones who made me who I am today, were my paternal grandmother and grandfather. My beloved goddess of a grandma died when I was nine, but her love had already formed my formative years. I was left to be doted on by my grandfather.
In my memory, he lived in a gigantic house he had built himself on a billion acres of Midwestern land. He knew how to do anything in the world that could ever be done. Sometimes we would lie on the grass in his front yard and watch the clouds to see if they made animal shapes. I remember us making yards and yards of daisy chains out of his plentiful dandelions, then he’d wrap them around and around me and we’d laugh ourselves silly. He told me the crows were really talking to me. He taught me to make wax candles, and occasionally fed me paper-thin slices of Snickers bars that we hid from my watchful mother.
My darling grandfather has been dead a long time now, but I miss him almost every day.
My friend George became a grandfather himself last week. His only daughter just brought forth a son. I told George about my grandfather, about how in the darkest hours of my life to follow, it was the adoration, indulgence and unfathomable love I received from my grandparents that gave me the strength to endure; to believe that underneath all the calamities, I still was a valuable person; that things might turn out OK however bleak they seemed.
Someday, I predict Sophia, my daughter, will have babies. One day, I’ll be a grandmother. I vow to the memory of my own grandparents that I will not forsake my sacred duty to love, cherish, nurture, play with, guide, care for and admire that little miracle when it is born.
Do any of us ever fully realize the impact we have on another’s life? How the simplest things can create a lifetime of impact?
* PS – My brothers grew up into two of the most wonderful, caring, loving men I’ve ever known. I can’t imagine life without them!
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