Having been grandpa-less for a while, my brain has been vexing and rewiring around the idea that grandpas in general are among the most precious influences we will ever co-exist with throughout our lifetime. When I was just a young child, my family lost my father’s father. A decade later, we lost both my mother’s biological father and stepfather within one year of each other. All three men were the type to strip off their shirt and provide it for you if you were in need of one. All willing to get us kids to crack a smile anytime they could, especially on days we really needed it. Grandpas are so essential in this life, and if you even have just one in yours; appreciate them with your whole heart. Here are 7 things I wish I could tell my three late grandpas.
1. Thank you for supporting us by coming to every concert and sporting event.
Even up until the very end, you always made concerts and sporting events your top priority. Some of the times, grandma probably just dragged you along, but I know more times than not, you were dying to go to any event involving my siblings and I. And when you went, you would always make sure we knew that we were the star of the show. (Even if that couldn’t be farther from the truth in our own eyes!) The support was always endless and you couldn’t wait to make us feel like we were the best at everything we did. You were so proud, and I am grateful for that. Everybody needs somebody to make them feel special like you did for us.
2. Thank you for teaching us to always have a passion.
Whenever I smell Christmas cookies, a childhood scene rolls through the screen in my mind. The smell and taste of authentic fudge or meringues triggers a flame of memories from my youth, when you would take so much pride in your delectable holiday treats. I always admired this about you; your baking skills thrived with your unique character. Through your baking, you taught us to always be passionate about something. Why skate through life without anything to be passionate about? We learned this from you. We also learned to never engage in a tight diet or turn down cookies!
3. Thank you for always making us feel beautiful.
We were your pride and joy. You never failed to tell anybody how much you love “all these beautiful women," and how “these girls are my life.” Your voice replays this phrase over and over and over again in my mind on a repetitive track. At the time, it was so repetitive and I never thought that I would be dying to hear you say, “my beautiful girls” at least one more time. Regardless of what we were wearing, how we acted, or how our hair/ makeup looked, you always bragged about us to all your coworkers and friends. I miss you and how appreciative you were to our family. I miss this like hell.
4. Thank you for always cracking jokes; making us smile and laugh until our bellies hurt.
Grandpas are the number one remedy to any depression, crappy day, break up, etc. It’s like there’s a special grandpa school where grandpas learn everything they need to know when raising up grandchildren. For some reason, they always know exactly what to say to diffuse a situation or make us feel better. Both wisdom and insight shine through our grandpas' pores. Wisdom, insight, and humor. Thank you for teaching us that any time is the right time to light up a room with jokes.
5. Thank you for teaching us to love everybody, regardless of race.
I remember being so embarrassed, when you would walk over to an African American person in a restaurant or store and compare arms with them; suggesting that you both were not so different. You would say, “the color of our skin means nothing to me, brother/sister,” and my whole family would cringe nervously, hoping you didn’t upset or offend whoever you were speaking to. Turns out, you weren’t so wrong. Not once did anybody act out aggressively or call you out like my family had anticipated. You’ve taught us that it’s okay to love everyone unconditionally, regardless of race, gender, disability, intelligence, and character. If anything, this is what I use the most day-to-day. Loving people is so important, and it's okay to let them know.
6. Thank you for showing that hard work pays off.
Whether it be working for years to provide for your family, working to improve your singing each day up until the very end of your life, or working hard to sneak cookies from the Old Country Buffet in a napkin into your pocket to snack on later at home; you taught us that working hard is key to a well off and happy life.
7. Thank you for being the grandpas we needed.
Everybody needs a grandpa they can look up to and grow up with. Although to us, you may have been repetitive a fat majority of the time, we miss you like hell now that you're gone. Grandpas provide the most wisdom and knowledge over any other relative. Thank you for molding us into beautiful girls. We love and miss you every day.