When you're growing up, you never really notice the little things in life. We never really think about the importance of valuing the time we have with the people we love, because we never think long term. As you start to grow up, you begin to realize that not everyone is going to be around forever. This occurred to me when I lost my grandfather a year and a half ago.
I always knew that he wasn't going to be around forever, and that made me want to put in the effort to get to know him not only as my grandfather but as a friend as well. My grandparents moved down the street from me when I was just six years old. They would watch me, my sister, and my cousin all day in the summer when my parents were at work. Spending this time with the both of them, I began to realize that I should start valuing the time that I had with them, because I knew it wouldn't last forever.
As I entered high school, I saw so many people who were losing their grandparents, and I knew friends of mine who lost them as well. I couldn't comprehend the idea of that actually happening to me because I was fortunate enough to have all four of my grandparents around for 18 years of my life. I began to see that I should start to make an effort to go out of my way to spend time with my grandparents. I started talking with them and listening to their stories about their childhood, or their time in the Navy, and I began to know them on a whole different level. They were becoming not only my grandparents, but good friends to me as well.
When my grandfather passed, it was the first real loss I have ever experienced in my life. It was so sudden and my whole family and I were so heartbroken. Even though his death was unexpected, I still look back and I have no regrets. I knew that I spent as much time with him as I should have. I went down the street to visit him and my mom-mom at their house, I sat with him at family parties and listened to his stories, I have the memories and the pictures of all the family vacations we took together and I even have the goofy videos I took of him.
I hear so many kids my age complain, "I don't feel like going to my grandparents this weekend" and they see it as a chore or an inconvenience, but I'm here to make a point that if you are still fortunate enough to have all of your grandparents or even just one left in your life, value the time you have with them while they are still here. You don't want to look back and think to yourself, "I should have gone and visited them more," or "I really wished I listened to their stories more." Take advantage of that time now, because it won't last forever.
Having spent so much time and grown so close to all four of my grandparents I've learned so much things that I wouldn't of been able to hadn't I made an effort in the relationship. Both my grandfathers taught me that kindness and hard work can go a long way. My grandmother would have made a wonderful teacher; she is so knowledgeable about any subject, especially history which has made my life 10 times easier whenever I had a school project I needed help with (she's gotten many phone calls from me.) Apart from her intelligence, my grandmother has a great sense of humor, and I find that I can joke around with her like one of my friends. Both her and my grandfather raised six children and they probably are the most kind and patient people you will ever meet. My mom-mom knows anything you need to know about baking and cooking, which has helped me out, and will continue to help me later in life. Like my grandfather, she will drop everything for a friend in need. So if you don't talk to your grandparents you would never find these things out.
My pop will never be able to see me graduate college, watch me as I walk down the aisle to marry the man I love or be there when I want to start a family of my own, but I would never trade anything for all of the accomplishments he was able to see me achieve in my life.
At 19 years old, I am fortunate enough to still have three of my grandparents in my life. I couldn't be more grateful to have them, and I am so thankful for everything that they have taught me. Because I know them, I believe that it has made me a better person. They have taught me the value of hard work and family and appreciating the time you have left with your loved ones. Losing my grandfather made me realize how fast things can change, and I don't want to waste any of the time I have left with them.
So if you feel like you don't spend enough time with your grandparents, or you feel like you're too busy to go and visit them, stop making excuses. Pick up the phone and call them, or if you don't live too far away, take an hour and go visit them. I'm sure it would make their day. Appreciate the time you have, because it won't last forever.