Macaroni and cheese with a side of applesauce. Family beach trips every summer. The GOOD high heels on our small feet, and beach towels draped around our necks. Living room forts built lovingly with blankets, chairs, and pillows. Sunday dinners. Holiday get-togethers. Leisurely strolls with a loyal dog. Cousins. Family. Laughter. Love.
When I get to the end of my life or am ever asked to look back on my grandparents, these are the memories I will cling to and will wrap around me like a blanket to bask in the warmth.
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I know I am lucky. This is not something I say lightly, I am well aware of just how lucky I am. Not only to have the family I have been blessed with and have created with my husband but also to have living grandparents at my age—two beautiful grandmothers who look half their age, one each on my mother’s and father’s sides.
Two sides of my family coin who still anchor me, guide me, and serve as examples of what a strong, resilient woman should be.
They’ve both faced tragedy, grief, and loss and fought through those smoldering ashes onto the other side more beautiful than before, like a Phoenix emerging from the ashes. Likewise, they have had love, sunshine, and family legacies to guide them on their way.
I never knew my maternal grandfather, he tragically passed away from an accident when my mom was still in early elementary school. I’m told, however, that I have inherited his eyes and that my laugh is an echo of him. I wear that knowledge like a badge of honor to know I carry pieces of him with me throughout my life even though he was gone long before I was ever born.
Sadly, I lost my other grandfather—my paternal grandfather—on Christmas Day of 2021 after having him in my life for over 40 years. Luckily, we got to send him to Heaven and into the arms of his loving, departed son while he was surrounded by the love of his entire living family—children, grandchildren, and wife . . . a human picture book of sorts of his best accomplishments in life.
I wasn’t prepared to lose him that day or any day, really, in the 41 years I was able to love and have him in my life.
He was one of the smartest men I have had the pleasure of having in my life, he just knew things with a lifetime of knowledge to guide him. I find myself in awe looking back now at all the things that came so easily to him. I wish I had had the foresight to write some of those things down because I still want to go to him for things that trouble me or that are over my head. He was my go-to guy, and I knew I could count on him to come to my rescue any time I called (which was, to be honest, a lot). He loved his family with a love that even death can not diminish.
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Grandparents are doorways to our past and lifelines to our future. They are the ties that bind families together. Memories of your younger days spent with them will swirl around you like a warm, comforting breeze throughout your life, and time spent with them now—if you’re lucky enough to still have one, two, or all of them—is truly a gift that you can cherish the rest of your life.