Today let’s talk about your dad’s parents: Grandma G and Grandpa E. Your dad is very close with both of his parents and talks to them nearly every day. I hope that you two have great talks about family and you can learn even more stories as there are certainly way more than this little highlight I am providing. First of all, these GPs are very active. I hope that they stay that way for a while as I bet you would have fun playing with them. They are both from Chicago and have awesome stories about growing up there. They met in college and this January you will be there when we celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with a nice party and dancing. Hopefully you will be able to hear that and have fun tagging along with me.
Like me, your Grandma G prayed and waited a long time for God to give her your dad. He was her first and very soon after he was born, your Aunt D came along. Your Grandma made sure to take them to parks and they learned to play a lot outside. I hope that you do too. Your Grandpa E was a teacher in Chicago. He worked in an area that was considered pretty rough. He went out of his way to help take care of the kids that he saw each day. He, as you will witness, never thinks of himself as a hero, but to do what he did as long as he did…well, I think it is pretty heroic. Moreover, he worked so hard each and every day so that your dad and Aunt D could have a great childhood. When your dad was a kid, the whole family would take these awesome road trips all over the country. They had a brown van and drove it to amazing places. When I was learning all about your dad, he showed me pictures from their trips and it really did look like a ton of fun. Your dad thinks that your mom is steady, faithful, caring, and hard working. She goes to church and still finds God in many ways. She even gave me a prayer book so that I could pray for you. She makes the BEST Hawaiian salad (don’t tell Grandma J I said that) and always decorates their house with fun knick knacks for the holidays. Grandma G is steady in that she remains calm and reassuring when things get a little crazy. She is a great conversationalist and listener. I hope that you can find the time to talk to her about your life as you grow up. She was just two months old when her father got shot down over Aachen Germany. He was a B17 pilot and was fighting for the freedoms you get to enjoy now as an American. Her mother later remarried so Grandma G had a stepdad for growing up. She has this amazing collection of information all about her dad’s experiences in the war. It is so impressive. When I watch movies about WWII and see characters that experience horrific loss, I think of your Grandma G and Great Grandma A and how that war completed impacted their lives. Hopefully she and your dad will help you learn about that history and your Great Grandpa L’s huge sacrifice. Grandma G likes to do outdoor things. She will go kayaking too, so maybe someday you can do that together. She does volunteer things with Aunt D. Sometimes they make blankets for shelter dogs. Recently she and Aunt D cut out shoe soles for kids in parts of the world that have nothing for their feet. Grandma G is very generous and your dad can tell you all the different ways that she has given of herself to make all of our lives the better. And while I’m talking about people who give and sacrifice, let’s move onto Grandpa E.
Your Grandpa E is crazy hard working. I hardly ever see him sit still. Even in his retirement, he goes, goes, goes. He works at his house, our house, and Aunt D’s house. He can come up with ideas to fix things and is never afraid to get his hands dirty…now you see where your dad gets that from. Grandpa E is super supportive and is always going out of his way to help us. I think he is funny, but his sense of humor is subtle and intellectual – kind of perfect for an ex-teacher (so I get it). Be prepared to play Pickleball with Grandpa E. I made a monster out of that…and it is pretty cool to see how competitive (and good) he is. He has gear for Pickleball, so as soon as you can walk I expect he will put a paddle in your hand. He and Grandma love to go for walks and nature hikes. Hopefully you can spend some time with them doing that too. Grandpa E likes to build things too. The big cat tree on the porch, that I am certain you will climb, was built by him. He and your dad did a lot of work on the house together. Maybe someday you will learn about tools, fixing, and building from him and your dad. Unlike your Dad who likes wine, your Grandpa E loves beer (so does Aunt D). Your dad and I can’t really drink beer…strange that we are both like that…we shall see how you turn out. If you take after Grandpa E and Aunt D…uh oh! I like talking with your Grandpa as much as your Grandma. He has some pretty crazy stories from his time in the city. He can also make up funny imaginary stuff and tell it to you in such a way that you believe it. Ask him about the Affy Tapple bug. Grandpa E has a strange clock…he hardly sleeps. He loves coffee, which again, there is another drink that your dad and I don’t do. He can make a mean turducken. Guess what, Grandpa and Grandma can also dance! It is wonderfully ironic that I grew up in a town that had cornfields while your dad’s family is from Chicago and they all like country music. I don’t get it, but maybe you will. When it comes to your Grandpa, I can’t begin to imagine all of the things he will teach you.
One of the best things about your Grandma G and Grandpa E is that they really do allow you to be yourself. They might tell it to you like it is…which is different than what I was used to as a kid. But, their open nature allows you to know exactly where you stand, which in turn, lets you be who you are. As you get older you will see that your dad has his charming quirks that I fell for. The fact that your dad is so set in who is (while I waffled around until I was 40) is partly because the goofy kid who he was was always loved accepted by your Grandparents. They are warm and kind and all the best that I could hope for with your happiness. Other than me and your dad getting to hold you, I really, really look forward to seeing Grandma G and Grandpa E hold you for the first time. You will be their first grandchild…which I was for my grandparents. You don’t know it at the time, but you will melt their hearts and fulfill a dream that they could see their son (and maybe themselves) in your face. And, hopefully, little Four, you will be showered with kisses and embraces sooner than later, because the more that I write to you the more I can’t wait to look into your precious eyes.