I spent my Labor Day weekend at home, trying to cram in quality time with as much family as I could. It is never easy to leave any of them. Least of all, my grandparents. This year, I cried nearly the entire hour and a half trip to my university because I didn’t get to give my grandmothers a hug before I left. I am blessed to have my maternal and paternal grandparents and two great-grandmothers still on this earth with me. I have lately been realizing and relishing the fact that I am a combination of all of them. Their blood, and some of their attributes, run strongly through my veins.
I am a story-teller, like my grandfathers before me. My maternal grandfather, Gale, is as stubborn as the day is long—but he’s also kind. (And stubbornness can be good, sometimes!) He makes up nicknames for everybody and I do too. Last year on campus I met a kid that I called ‘Bucket Hat Guy’ for so long that I forgot his real name. My paternal grandmother, Dawn, has a gift and love for music that I inherited. My great-grandmother Betty is the sweetest, most practical woman I ever knew. And she wears rain bonnets. She’s so cute. My great-grandmother June is a legend in our community for her spunky attitude and infectious giggle. Everyone knows ‘Grandma June.’ My paternal grandfather Ed spread his love for Jesus and His children for many years as a campus life director. He doesn’t know a stranger, and he can and will talk to every person he meets. I hope one day I will be able to do that. My maternal grandmother Nelda dedicated years of her life to watch me almost every day while my mother went to work. She makes me laugh and can always be counted on to feed me! As can Grandma Dawn. Grandmas never let their grandchildren go hungry! I love my grandparents so much that my heart bursts with it. I’ve been so blessed to have them in my life for so long. The ones that have passed before them touch my life still. My Grandma Nelda’s father had the hobby of photography. I’ve recently developed a real passion for ‘old’ cameras—Polaroids. I love that the backgrounds in our photos are the same. I feel connected to him in that way.
The elderly people in your life are important! It’s not just that they’re older than you. They’ve lived a whole lifetime ahead of you. They know things that people don’t know anymore. The next time you are with a grandparent or an elderly person in your life, really talk to them. Don’t just ask them what it was like to grow up in the stone age (just kidding Grandparents, love you) but really talk to them! Put down your phones and games. Ask them what they thought of the news, or a certain topic. They won’t be around forever. Elderly, okay, let’s just say ‘older’ people can enrich your life in a way you never thought possible. My heart overflows with the love that my grandparents have for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.