Earlier this year, my grandfather, who is in his 80's, was loading up his 4 wheeler when it tipped and fell on him, pinning him underneath it. His buddy called 911, and when the ambulance arrived, my dear grandfather almost refused to go to the hospital. He thought better of it after he tried walking some more. He had broken his hip. I tell ya, nothing stops him. He is a fighter and always has been. I realized when I received the news that I needed to head out to visit, just me and just be with my grandparents.
Growing up, I always had real relationships with my mom's parents. They invested in me; they listened to me; they showed me how to grow old gracefully. Now we are good friends. I talk to my grandparents on the phone, my children write letters back and forth, my grandmother sends us boxes of books every other month, and the relationship continues to grow.
Sample of my grandmother's hand-drawn paper dolls.
The arrival was the same as it always is. I landed and the smell of onions instantly filled my nostrils and cows seemed to pop out all over the place. So much had changed, but so much was still so familiar including the pulling into the driveway, halfway running up the front steps to greet those who were waiting. Grandma gives me a kiss on the cheek, and grandpa (as is the custom) picks me up in a HUGE bear hug and says, "Hi Sweety!" This has always been and will always be....some things never change.
There is always good food at grandma's house, there is always sharing of some family heirloom or story, the cupboard above the dishwasher is always open, football is often on the tv, pinochle games are always played, Grdandma's drawings can be found around the house, books are everywhere, grandma is always busy doing a new craft, grandpa is always eager to stay up late and chat about life, and I feel at home, comfortable, and accepted.
My Great Grandmother's dress: she wore this dress in the dance competition that she and my great grandfather won
(I believe it was for the Charleston)
There is always the learning of something new. For me, I like listening to the old stories. I just found out that my grandparents met on a blind date. My grandfather was told that my grandmother was a female wrestler. He was pretty psyched to meet her. For them, they are always finding ways to keep their minds and bodies active. Grandpa goes shooting with his buddies. Grandma works every morning and thrift shops and does needle point and reads. Oh, she loves to read, and I feel so blessed that my kids can share this with her.
When I look at my grandparents, I look forward to growing older. I look forward to the life that will be. I see how beautifully they have grown, and I delight in it.