To My Father's Father

To My Father's Father

an open letter


Dear Grandpa,

I love you. I know we don't really talk very often because we live far away, but I'd love to get to know you more. I just don't know if you'd like to get to know me more. You've done some things I disagree with, but at the same time I think we're a lot alike.

One thing is that you weren't the best to your family, especially to my dad and his mom. You didn't put them first, as you should have. You didn't respect the woman who brought life and love into your house, who would in all probability do anything for you. You didn't make childhood lively or lovely, and that's something my dad still carries with him, you know.

My dad doesn't talk much about you-about growing up- but I think that silence says so much in itself. I'm lucky. He took what you gave him and did a total 180. He said he would never treat his wife or kids the way you did. I'm lucky, you know. It could have easily gone the other way. It has for other people in our lives.

I love you, and I know you love me, but I don't think you necessarily care much for me. I think you can love someone without caring for them. I don't think you know me enough to really care. You ask about school, which is nice, but after that the questions all seem to revolve around you. That's fine, because you've led an interesting life, but I think I'm pretty interesting too. I think we'd really hit it off.

Really, I'd think we'd get along great. I see myself in you. I love your little house in New York: the garden out back and the piano room that looks out onto the street. The mass amount of books that lay collecting dust, a box of your brother's things that you can't bring yourself to look at. We both seek a richer experience of life; we love music and books and the people in our lives. We treasure the coincidences of experience and how they remind us how small everything really is.

However, my mother says you are chauvinistic and self-centered, which are some pretty colorful words. I agree with her to a point. See, even when I'm the one putting in time to visit you, you only ask about my brother and what he's up to now. And I'll never forget that time we drove four hours for your 70th birthday and you called my dad a half hour before the reservation asking if we could maybe do it another time.

But what doesn't make sense is that even if you are sometimes chauvinistic, you're not always selfish. And you raised my dad, and my aunt, and my uncles, who are all people I adore and look up to. And I'll never forget how, on 9/11, you went back into the building you were so lucky to escape. You went back and you helped others escape before yourself. That's the opposite of selfish. And your new wife-I can tell you love her. You bought her a hair salon and you help her practice English. One evening she looked me in the eye and said, "your grandfather is a very good man."

And you are, you really are. You're a very good man. You're smart, and down to earth, and selfless. You're funny and strong and generous. Sometimes I just wish you'd come down to earth a little and love what's right in front of you before chasing the rest of the world. Really, the world is right at your fingertips, I just don't think you realize sometimes.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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