When I was in Kindergarten, my Grandpa would pick me up from school every Wednesday to take me somewhere fun. Usually, we’d go miniature golfing, or to the trampolines. Sometimes, he’d take me to the donut shop next door to where he worked, or sometimes, to the bar where all of his buddies hung out.
I remember driving in his station wagon, standing in the backseat, my arms wrapped tightly around his neck. “I love you, Grandpa.” I’d say. “I love you too.” He’d say back.
My Grandpa used to drink a lot and from what I’ve heard, he was a mean drunk. My Grandpa hasn’t had a drink in over 30 years because of his love for me. He says that he stopped drinking because I didn’t like the smell of beer. I once asked him if he loved Jesus and if so, why did he drink beer? He stopped drinking beer that day and hasn’t had a drink of any kind since.
My Grandpa always used to tell me that I was his favorite grandchild, because I was his first grandchild. I’ve always known that I had a special place in his heart. I can’t tell you how much that’s meant to me over the years, knowing that my Grandpa thinks so highly of me.
One year, for Christmas, I asked my Grandparents not to buy me any presents, but instead, to fill out a “memory” book that I had bought for each of them. They agreed and on Christmas morning, I could barely stand the excitement. I wanted to read what they had to say, how they felt about me, how they met and fell in love, what their favorite childhood memories were.
To this day, those books are the best present I’ve ever received. I sobbed like a baby as I read through both of them. One thing in particular that my Grandpa wrote still makes me cry every time I read it. Even more so today, as he lay in a hospital bed with a blood infection, IV’s pumping medication through his tired, old body.
“The first time I held you in my arms… I felt like life was finally worth living”
There I go with the crying again.
My Grandma called me to tell me he’s not doing well and that he keeps asking for me. I was going to go see him this morning, but Tony and the boys want to go, so I’m going to wait until they get home from school/work. I don’t want to see him hooked up to IV’s and in pain, but I know I HAVE to see him.
The year I got engaged, the doctors didn’t think he’d live longer than a year. I was sick with worry that he wouldn’t see me get married.
Not only did he live to see me get married, he’s lived to see all three of my children and oh, how he loves them. My God, he loves them. He especially loves Gabby. Perhaps because she reminds him of the little girl who loved nothing more than cruising with him in his station wagon, singing songs about Jesus while wrapping her arms tightly around his neck because she loved him more than anything in the whole wide world.
I still do and I always will. I just pray to God that he gets better, because I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet. Selfish? Of course it is. But he’s the only Grandpa that I’ve ever really known and I can’t even begin to imagine my life without him in it.