When I think of my childhood, I immediately think of my grandpas.
There are very few memories that don’t contain them in some capacity. Every ball game, family trip, backyard cookout, elementary school play, and holiday party—they were there.
They didn’t miss a thing.
I can still hear the sound of one of my grandpas spouting off in the stands at every home sporting event I played in. To this day at almost age 90, he can still give any referee or umpire a recommendation for a good eye doctor, whether they want it or not.
There are few weekends I look back on that he wasn’t in. He taught me the value of a dollar and hard work picking peas each summer in the heat. He spoiled me with trips to the nearby country store, loading me up with candy and movies. He let me tag along to the farmers markets, “paying” me to load vegetables into garbage bags for customers.
I thought I was hitting the lottery with that gig, but as an adult, I realize I really just won it big by having him as my grandpa.
He’s got the patience of a saint and one of the best hearts I’ve ever known.
My other grandpa—boy, was he a hoot. He left behind enough stories, memories, and jokes to sustain the entire family (plus some) after he was gone. To know him was to love him—truly.
I still see him often in the details of my life and in the details of my son. He had a temper that sometimes scared me as a child, but as I grew I learned to understand it and revere it for what it was. My passion for travel easily comes from him, and I can’t take a trip without thinking back on all miles I rode with him before I could drive myself. A lifelong, irreplaceable cousin bond was built on weekends where he cooked breakfast and gave us his pocket change, sending us to the corner store for pointless goodies.
Nothing can replace these memories I have and I pray I get to hold onto them for the rest of my life.
One grandpa has passed away and the other lives hundreds of miles away, so all that these two men are to me I now have to carry inside of me each day. My grandpas were pure magic and all it entails.
But I’ll be honest—I pretty much forgot that until I had children of my own.
The pure joy that radiates from my son at the mere mention of his own grandpa is what childhood is all about. He’s only 2, but he tries his hardest to do everything just like his Paw Paw. My son repeats his phrases and they share the same obsessions and quirks. It’s often comical from my perspective, but now that I’m older I can sense the magic behind it.
My son can’t see the moon or a semi-truck without talking about his Paw Paw, and of course, he wants to go visit all the time. We try to go as often as we can and it hurts my heart that we don’t see him more often, but I know the magic of a grandpa can travel many miles.
I get to watch it happen almost every day.
My grandpas were absolutely the best part of my childhood.
I know you don’t understand that when you’re young, but I wish more than anything that I could go back and have just one more weekend as a child with either one of them.
Watching my son with my dad now makes my heart ache, but for good reasons. I can see in his young eyes the same lifelong memories forming that will carry him through years to come.
If you would’ve asked me way back then who hung the moon, I’m sure I would’ve said that my grandpas did.
I know wholeheartedly if you asked my son that question, he’d say the same thing.