They say that there is nothing like having your first grand baby. You know, grandparents can do all the fun stuff with the grandkids and then send them home to the parents at night. I’ve seen my own parents becoming grandparents for the first time and how they love my children. There is nothing like it.
But it goes both ways, don’t you think? As the grandCHILD, we also see the best in our grandparents. We weren’t around to experience the parenting mistakes they made with the previous generation. We are the recipients of the spoiling and fun.
I know my dad and aunts and uncles well enough to know that my grandpa was not a perfect man. He would not want to be remembered as such.
But, he was my grandpa. And he was a good one.
My grandpa flew 78 missions as a fighter pilot in World War 2. He loves our country. He loves talking about his adventures. In fact, much of the 2nd half of his life was spent traveling to schools and various places and telling children (and adults) about his love for country and his memories as a fighter pilot. He even wrote a book about those adventures! Some of my sweetest memories in recent years, of my grandpa, are of him telling my own kids those stories and showing off all his pictures of the cool planes.
I’m so thankful that my grandpa held on to his mind until the very last week of his life. He was an author, a fighter pilot, a faithful Sunday School teacher, a devoted husband…but one of my favorite qualities of grandpa was his humor.
At his funeral, there were so many stories told of the practical jokes that grandpa played all throughout his lifetime. One of my favorite funny moments is when grandma and grandpa decided to have a small, family wedding shower for David and me before we got married. There were folks there from my family and from David’s family. It was about time for it all to start and we were wondering where grandpa was. Finally, he came down the stairs in his fashionable, long haired wig with gray stringy hair down past his shoulders. I’m sure my grandma was mortified…but now, looking back, I can see that was just who my grandpa was.
Grandpa could always, always make us laugh.
This is the last picture I have of my grandpa and me. I cherish the days I spent sitting by his side in hospice. I don’t ever want to forget his room filling with family and song and tears and laughter and memories. At one point, we filled his room with sweet harmonies as we sang Blessed Assurance, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Amazing Grace and several other favorite hymns.
And though I have so many fond memories of my grandpa, I am learning from him still, even in his death. I was amazed at the words used to describe him at his funeral. I take those words and memories with me…and I pray that someday similar words can be said of me.
Someday, after I’ve been married 68 years to my husband, I want everyone to go on and on about how they could see how much I love David. I want them to find little love notes that I used to leave for him. I want everyone to know how devoted I was to my husband…just like grandpa was to my grandma.
Someday, after my children are grown and have children of their own, I want people to know who my kids are because of the stories I share and the pride I find in them. I want people to know, without a doubt, that my children were my favorites, that they were so loved. I want my children, especially, to know, that though I’ve made plenty of mistakes with them, they are loved beyond measure…just like my grandpa loved his children.
I want the preacher from my church to find my Bible after I’m gone and see the notes, the scribbles, the underlines and know that I was a woman of the Word. I want people to know that Jesus was my first love and that His Word was well worn in my home…just like it was for grandpa.
Someday, I want folks to see things I’ve written…maybe this blog, maybe in a journal…just like this paragraph below that my grandpa wrote at the beginning of one of his books published in the 70’s, and know that I loved the church and the Body of Christ. I want people to know that my heart is for them to love God and for us to be united to bring glory to Him. It is my hope that someday others will know I was passionate about His church and hopeful that all the world would hear the good news…just like my grandpa hoped.
Someday, I want the words said about me to bring others to Christ. I want my life to mean something for others. I want others to see Christ in me…even in my darkest moments…even in my death.
Just like my grandpa.