A tribute to grandfathers
Reflections on the role and importance of my grandfathers.
April 07, 2021
I can still hear the rumble of the tires running over the brick roads. That’s how we knew we were close. It’s hard to gauge time after 10 hours in a car. Once we felt that rumble, no book could hold our attention, no Pokemon was worth catching, and no movie was more engaging than the scene outside our windows. The anticipation built in the car. Soon we would crest the hill and make our final descent. The car would stop, park in the street, and all 8 of us would file out of the car, racing to the back door to greet grandma and pop-pop.
I consider myself extremely lucky. Thirty years old and still able to FaceTime all four of my grandparents. This is a rare privilege. Even rarer are the real face times. The chance to hug, and be hugged. To be held and to hold. To talk and listen without technological barriers.
Our reunions are still full of laughter. The hugs are still tight, the love still warm. Nothing can take these away. Nothing. But now they include reminiscing, difficult conversations, sadness, and tears. It’s hard to say goodbye.
My mind is drawn to my grandfathers. On the outside, they both are different men. One is tall and leaner, the other short and with a gut. One spent most of his life on the west coast, while the other spent his entire life in Pennsylvania. But when you examine the specifics of their lives and look at their stories, there are so many similarities it is uncanny.
I can easily describe both by describing one:
- He is strong.
- He lives a life of deep faith.
- He worked hard to provide for his family.
- He is deeply in love with his wife and fiercely loyal to her.
- He and his wife adopted a son.
- He cared for his elderly mother in his own home.
- He had grandchildren live with him.
- He was the primary father figure to some of his grandchildren.
It seems coincidental at first, but when you look harder, you see the underlying forces at play. Two men, with immense love and desire to be the best they can be for others. Driven to selflessly give of their time, their love, and their laughter to the ones they love the most.
First, they were sons.
Then they were fathers.
But for me
They are GRAND fathers.