Friday, June 19, 2009

A Love Letter to Grandfathers

"I never met my grandfather
I wish I had
Sometimes I think he is watching me."

My son wrote that poem at age 6. His teacher, a veteran instructor who was never one to gush, had tears in her eyes when she handed it to me. He was writing about my father that day, but it could have been about his other grandfather too.

I understood the sentiment. The poem was an emblem of one of the bonds my husband, son and I share. We never met our grandfathers. They all had passed on when we were born.

In fact, my husband touched me more than I could express when we heard some people giving lofty speeches about the historic figures in the past they would like to sit down with given the opportunity. Lincoln, Jefferson, Lee and Grant, Freud, philosophers and poets.

My husband said he wouldn't have to think about that question. He would ask for a few minutes with one grandfather. He wouldn't be picky, someone else could choose which one.

So with Father's Day advertisements plastered all over the airwaves and elsewhere, we feel blessed to have known our fathers, certainly. And our mothers are powering along in the 90s category.

But we also think about those grandfathers we didn't get to know, wonder about the exact shade of the blue in their eyes, who had the curly hair I was born with, and a laugh that takes hold of the body unexpected, shaking us to the core, like mine does and my son's. What were their voices like? Did one of my husband's grandfathers have that deep voice? Did my son's grandfather have the off-the-wall sense of humor I've never found in anyone but my husband?

And the truth is, when you complain about the old geezers and maybe neglect them a little, we envy you. We are the ones who laugh at their corny old jokes in the grocery store lines and don't mind when they take too long to conduct their transactions.

If you feel they are too much, maybe, if you have something else you would rather do on this Father's Day, then send them to us. We'll be waiting, with a nice cake, a glass of cheer, open hearts, and all the time in the world, to just listen.


  1. Great post. I remember one of my grandfathers. The other one died when I was very young. I don't remember him but wish that I had known him. To this day, I have an affinity for elderly people. I like to hear their stories and enjoy being around them. My sponsor says that I have a knack with them. Maybe. I think it's remembering my grandparents and their friends.

  2. Those positive associations are a generational gift, Syd.

  3. Hi Glimmer,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and welcome.

    I liked what you had to say here about grandfathers. I knew one grandfather only a little when I was very, very young and he was in a nursing home. The other lived into his 90s and I knew him really well and loved him deeply.

    Thanks for your post and your visit.
    Prayer Girl