This year for my birthday we once again went to visit my grandparents, but this year it was something different that drove me to go see them. This year it was fear of not seeing them for much longer. I find, and I know this is true for most people, the older you get the more your mortality and the mortality of your loved ones becomes real.
So instead of escaping from reality, I ran to making memories and reminiscing about the old ones. When we arrived the goal was at first to show our new “son”, Zach, the gems of the area. We ran in a whirlwind showing him all the wonders and beauties of the northern redwood region. And even though that was fun it was exhausting. The last day of the visit which was meant to be spent visiting with my grandparents however I realized what I wanted wasn’t going to happen. It was time to go home.
I realized when I awoke in the morning it was time for us to go. My originally “selfish” intentions of why I wanted to stay an extra day weren’t going to happen. And us staying one more day wouldn’t be beneficial for the rest of my family. They had things they were delaying just for me. And the heart to heart talks I wanted with my grandma wasn’t going to happen. Our children have reached the stage where they actively join in on the conversations we have, which is wonderful. But I wanted to talk and in essence cry on her shoulder about things that our children don’t need to hear. So I knew it was time to go. Maybe next time we go, it will just be Tom and I, then I can cry a bit about the woes of my life to her and celebrate the triumphs of this past year with her.
With that being said, I still had to face saying good bye. This turned out harder than I thought. As we were packing up I finally went outside to explore the changes of grandpa’s yard. Memories came flooding back to me. Ones of when Shawn and I crossed over the “forbidden” field to explore the “great” forest beyond the field, to the trees I climbed as a little girl, to playing badmitton with my brother over grandpa’s non existent picket fence and so many more. I actually started to tear up a bit. Then we had picture time, which was full of giggles and laughter as we all cracked jokes and grandpa grabbed grandma’s backside in one of the photo opportunities. We ended with a family prayer and hugs goodbye. I’ve hidden my tears, but they are there.
The legacy of love, acceptance, laughter, heart to hearts that my grandparents have given me does not have a price. I tell many people that my grandparents are more than just typical grandparents to me, they are my second parents. They have impacted my life to shape and form me into the woman I am today. They were the ones that shared Christ with me and lead me to pray with him, they are the ones that showed me its possible to achieve your dreams and goals, they are the ones that showed me what forgiveness, healing and moving on from the pain of life is, they are the ones that taught me how to accept people even when those people hurt me or let me down, and mostly they are the ones that I wanted to grow up to be just like them when I was a child.
I think I have achieved that goal. I’m married to my best friend, a man I love, cherish and couldn’t imagine my life without. We have been blessed with 4 children (just like my grandparents). We live in our “countryish” home. I have a career that brings me joy. And our life goal besides serving Christ is to help our family stay close and united.
Now I watch them in their twilight years. My original goal to grow up to be like them hasn’t changed one bit. It just causes me to desire to spend more time with them. I just hope that we bring them as my joy, love and memories as they have given us.
I look at their legacy today on my 41st birthday and can only pray that my life has a similar legacy with our children and the future generations. I am forever grateful and blessed to have the grandparents that I have. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa. I love you both with all my heart.