I Blog For Books

20 January 2009

Grandparents

Vince Gill is singing in the background. Tonight, I need to hear these words. That sweet, clear voice rips straight through to my heart, and the tears freely fall. “Oh how we cried the day you left us, we gathered ‘round your grave to grieve, wish I could see the angels’ faces, when they hear your sweet voice sing.” (written 8 Oct 07)

Michelle and I had dinner together tonight at Olive Garden. After catching up on what has been going on in our lives in the week or so since we’d last seen each other, we turned as we often do, to memories. Because we are first cousins, we share many of the same fond ones. Tonight we were reflecting on our maternal grandparents (our moms are sisters), and just how very blessed we were to have the grandparents that we did.

To grandmother and granddaddy, we were not perfect, but simply wonderful. They had the amazing gift of treating each one of us (all 21 of us!) as if we were only children. To me, they were the epitome of what grandparents should be. Their house was always the place we wanted to go. It was a magical place for a child - you could climb a tree, chase a chicken, ride a horse, milk a cow, ride on the tractor with granddaddy, and rock on the front porch. At night, you could snuggle down in the beanbag and fall asleep with granddaddy, or climb onto a bed that was as tall as you were and slide in between sweet-smelling sheets crisp from the clothesline and ironing board. Breezes redolent of crepe myrtle and rain drifted in through open windows, whispering sleep sounds to a child who would be wakened just after daybreak by the crowing of the rooster.

The lessons learned from my grandparents were reinforced by my parents. I hope I have passed them on to my own children, and in turn, to my granddaughter. What lessons? Work hard. It has yet to hurt anyone, and it gives you a great sense of reward knowing you’ve done a job well. Play hard. Take time to smell the roses. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love that you love them. Knowing that you are loved is one of the most, if not the most, important feelings of security that a child can have. As an adult I have times of doubt, but never about being loved by my family.

One of the most important lessons that grandmother and granddaddy taught us was not taught so much by words, but by living. Every day, their belief and faith in God was evident. They did not proclaim their belief by standing up and shouting “I’m a Christian;” their faith shone through everything they did. They were not perfect (although as a child, I certainly thought they were), but did “the right thing” because that is just what should be done. After all, you have to answer to God one day.

When the time came for granddaddy to make the decision whether or not to continue life support for grandmother, there was no hesitation. “Mrs. Hall would not want to live this way.” Why was he so certain? They had been married nearly 50 years. He knew, without doubt, that grandmother was going home to be with God. If God had decided that it was her time to go, he was at peace with that. He knew that he would see her again. Nineteen years later, it was granddaddy’s time to go home, and we knew that he would once more be with his beloved Joyce.
Thank you, God, for the blessings that were my grandparents. Help me to instill in my granddaughter the love and faith that they instilled in me. Help me to be an example for her. Thank you for allowing me the honor of being Sami’s nana. May she always see you in me.

“Test me, LORD, and try me; search my heart and mind. Your love is before my eyes; I walk guided by your faithfulness.” ~Psalm 26:2-3 NAB

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