Monday, March 14, 2011
As a little girl, my sister and I spent many nights driving around Salt Lake City with my grandparents. We'd get a coke at Wendy's, drive to "the yard" to check on things, go to the post office at the airport and then Grandpa would show us where all the polygamists lived in the city. We'd drive home on Indiana Avenue past where his family grocery store used to be.
Since my Grandma passed away in January I've been uncertain what to do about my Grandpa. He's never been as easy for me to talk to as my Grandma was. I always figured that he thought I was sort of a dork - a goofy girl. I ask my mom about him every time I talk to her. A few Sunday's ago he joined our family for dinner and as he was leaving he told me my kids weren't too big of brats. That was quite a compliment coming from him.
We've been out to visit him on a few Sunday nights in the last 2 months. The boys put on a show and he and Ross talk about work and mining and sports and geography and finances. I just sit and listen. I'm not sure what to say or do and then I end up crying all the way home.
On Saturday we drove out to visit. When we opened the door the boys yelled, "Grandpa, we're here!" and ran down the hall to find him. He was in the office, working on birthday cards. He's starting to forge his own way and make his own traditions. It's pretty cool considering that for two months shy of 60 years he pretty much let my Grandma be in charge of anything that related to the household, gift giving, cooking, etc.
He finished up what he was working on and headed out to the kitchen to visit with us. I was so amazed at how at ease I felt sitting at that kitchen table, the one I've spent years around, that it almost brought me to tears. For the first time since January 22, I was in the second home of my childhood and I did not cry. I laughed. My Grandpa laughed. We had a great visit.
Grandpa had plans - he was meeting my uncle's family for dinner, so we had to leave. Things are not back to "normal" and we're all still a bit sad but those boys of mine never fail to impress me. They both headed to my Grandpa, gave him big hugs and told him that they'd see him later. That little Chick gave Grandpa two hugs. It melted my heart and made me proud. It's our turn to get to know Grandpa as best as we can. To soak him in. To learn from him. To follow his example.
I gave my Grandpa some photos before we left. He'd asked my mom who in turn asked me to find some pictures of my Grandma when she was younger. You see, my Grandpa is nervous that he won't remember her young and beautiful when he meets her again in heaven so he needs some reminders around the house. I gave him the photos and he looked through them with a tear in his eye. He said thanks. I said you're welcome.
Whether we want it to or not, life moves on. We have our memories and thank heavens, our pictures and until our time to see our loved ones again comes, we'll just have to take what we can get. Until then, I'll love my Grandpa very much and steal as much of his time as I'm able.