Grandparents; they are so much more than an old soul. They are full of stories, life lessons, and everlasting love. I'm lucky that I grew up in a city with both sets of grandparents also in the same city. I got to develop relationships with each grandparent that I will always cherish. Each of my grandparents is so different, and yet so special in their own ways.
First off, you have my Grandpa Gary. He is my mom's dad, and let me just say he is the wittiest man you will ever meet. He can come up with a comeback for anything! But what is so special about him to me is that he can make a friend anywhere he goes. He has made friends all around the globe and continues to make new friends wherever he goes in life. I have many fond memories of him growing up, from all the vacations to the current day where he tries to one-up me with his iPhone X. This man LOVES his Apple products and is very tech savvy for being in an older generation. I can't describe my relationship with Papa G, except that I never feel a dull moment with him around, and I LOVE IT.
Next, there's my Grandma Shari. She's Gary's wife and is the grandma that every kid needs growing up. She is the most caring and loving woman I could've asked for in a grandmother. Not to mention that she bakes REALLY GOOD treats! I remember going over to my grandparents' house growing up and she always had something new for us to try making. But her go-to recipe was her classic chocolate chip cookies. What I remember fondly is trying to measure out every ingredient and she would stop me and tell me to just "eyeball" it! To this day no batch of cookies is ever the same as the last, but they always taste just as yummy as they did when I was younger. If I ever was sick at school and my parents couldn't come to get me, Shari would drive right over and take me to her house where I would lay down with the "sick blanket."
Then, we've got my Grandpa Leigh. He is my dad's father, and he is the man you see me holding up photos with up above in the cover photo. Unfortunately, he passed away just a little over a year ago from a long battle with cancer, but this man was one tough cookie and I'll never forget the bond that we had. He was your traditional family man, who would do anything just to make his loved ones happy. I used to go over to his house every Wednesday when I was younger for dinner, and he would always play games with me.
I remember so fondly going downstairs to the basement and grabbing the checkers board, and he would play against me for hours! Not to mention that he ALWAYS gave me chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup after dinner, even when he knew I didn't need it. When he was my age, he looked exactly like me, and my dad and all of my relatives tell me that as well. We took that photo at the last Christmas celebration I had with him, each of us holding each other's senior pictures. I aspire to be as loyal, hardworking, and brave as he was, and I long for the day that I will see him again.
Last but certainly not least, is my Grandma Peg. She is my Grandpa Leigh's wife and a FIRECRACKER. Ask anybody who knows her, and they will say that I have the same fiery spirit that she does. I'm lucky enough to still have her around through all of the health problems she has had over the years. But one of the special things about her is that she has never given up. She has triumphed through life and has always been strong. I remember when at my 16th birthday party she fell and broke her arm, and she didn't even cry. She knew it was bad but she kept her wits about her and dealt with it. I personally would've screamed and passed out, but not her. After that, she moved into a nursing home, and I've always made it a point to go and see her whenever I have spare time.
When I'm home from college during the holidays or the summer, I always make sure that I go to visit her and chat for as long as I can. We have a unique bond that is different from the relationships that I have with my other grandparents, and I'm not entirely sure why. I still make sure that I give her a call when I can just to say hello. Maybe we're so close because we have such similar personalities. We both love to be glamorous, love a nice cocktail, and never back down from somebody. But if there's one thing that I hope I've learned from her, it's to be myself and to love myself.
She taught me the meaning of confidence and loving myself. I'll never forget when I came out to her as gay she said, "Listen, dear, I know your secret". And I said, "You do?" She said "Yes I do, and let me just say I've never been more proud of you. You have to do whatever your heart tells you to be happy, and I will always be very supportive and proud of you." I had never felt such a rush of emotions in my life, and coming from her I knew that meant a lot. I still go out of my way to see her, call her, and keep her updated on my life because that's just what you do with your grandparents, no matter the situation.
What do I hope you get from me babbling about my grandparents? I hope it helps you to appreciate them if they are still around, or remember them in the best ways possible if they aren't. Grandparents aren't just a second set of parents to you, they can become friendships that last forever. I love each and every one of my grandparents, and I hope I can continue to make them proud. If you haven't seen or heard from your grandparents in a while, pick up your phone after reading this article, and call them. Set up a day to visit them! Friends may come and go, but family is a friendship that is forever.