Sunday, January 27, 2013

Things My Grandfather Taught Me

My grandfather was a Commander in the Navy.  He was always stern and strict, but started to mellow in his old age. He was quirky and hilarious, to me-- although everyone didn't share that sentiment about him. He had a strong personality, so people usually reacted to him strongly-- one way or another.

He always had a witty saying on the tip of his tongue and his favorites left his mouth quite often. 

He was a big believer in family and what I mean by that, is BIG families. He had six children and "always wished that they had had one more."(Bless my grandmother's heart) I would sometimes ask him why they didn't adopt, as his parents had fostered many children. He would get a stern look and state that he would not adopt because the child would not be "blood."  I'd laugh and know in my heart that his thoughts were common to his generation.

The day that I got engaged, he began probing about great-grandchildren... and he was relentless! He didn't know of our infertility struggle and I tried to keep it that way. I'd laugh and move on every time he asked me when I was going to make him a great-grandfather. I knew he was just excited about it, and was very much looking forward to his family expanding.

One of his favorite sayings was,"There is nothing in the world like your child coming over to you and wrapping their arms around you and calling you, 'Daddy'." He would almost always get teary eyed when he said that.  These were in his later years, when he was starting to get dementia and very emotional. 

I've thought about him many times, but especially when my children did just that-- today was one of those days. As we were singing Your Love Never Fails in church this morning, I was holding my three-year-old daughter and she wrapped her arms around my neck and put her head on my shoulder. Grandfather was right... there is nothing like it. 

She wrapped her arms around me as we repeated the phrase:
You(God) make all things work together for my good.

I felt precisely that way and I thanked Him for it. I thanked Him for my children.

My grandfather lived into his early 90s. I am so thankful that I spent as much time with him as possible.  I look back fondly on the memories, though some of them, at the time, were not so fun. He did get to see our daughter not long after she was born, but sadly, he was pretty far into his dementia at that point.  But I like to think that he is looking down from Heaven watching all of us, and I hope that I would make him proud.

Although I am sure that he would have some advice to give on my parenting!

As I said before, he had quite a few "sayings,"  I will leave you with some of them as I sit here and smile. Hopefully you will find some humor in them too-- incidentally, they usually did impart some wisdom.

"The two main things that couples fight about are money and sex." (I told you that he was wise ;))

"You can hug and you can squeeze, but keep your hands below the knees."

"The wedding before the bedding."

"Don't bring shame on the name."

" A marriage is made after you say I do."

"Opinions are like noses, everyone has one." -- Commander Matthews

*Song-Your Love Never Fails by Newsboys*

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