When my wife was told by a doctor that she better have kids early in her twenties because if she waited she would not be able to have them it was the best advice we were ever given. By the time she was 30, she had all these complications and shortly after that she had a hysterectomy so there was no option to have kids anymore. Lucky for us, she had an awesome doctor and we had two beautiful girls that were already out of diapers and in school by then! We didn’t know it at the time, but that doctor really changed the lives of so many people just by telling us that information. The wife and I had two kids before we were 25, which means we were “young” in today’s world, but it also means our parents/their grandparents were young too.
My grandparents, while I loved them very much, were “old” to me growing up. There was no playing catch with them, no trips to concerts or ballparks. They were the older, wiser people in my life. When I went to college my Grandma Stanton was very happy. She placed a high value on education, putting all of her children thru college, some of them even had many attempts at it!
When I got to school my parents would say “Call your Grandma, she wants to know how you were doing”. I would delay and delay; I was having fun at school, being an idiot. Then finally one Sunday night I called and we had a nice conversation and the next Tuesday there was a check for $25 in the mail from her with a note about how she was proud. So, I called again the next Sunday, and boom Tuesday’s mail had another check. I thought to myself that I would do this every week. I mean, who couldn’t use $25 a week in college? Over time, the calls were something I looked forward to. I got to know my Grandma on a personal level, who she was, and I learned another lesson about the importance of family. To thank her I took her out to one of her favorite restaurants and I tried to pay. I mean, she had already given me TONS of money by this point. But, she made it very clear that she pays while I am in school. It was another lesson from her about the value of education.
We developed a really cool relationship. The phone calls turned into weekly visits and when I finished school I would bring my girlfriend then wife along. And on one of those visits we got to tell her that she would be a Great Grandmother. It would be her first great grandchild. By this point her health had deteriorated to the point where she was in a nursing home. She was overjoyed with a new life coming into this world though.
So the visits to the nursing home would now include me, my wife, and this BEAUTIFUL little blond haired girl. Both my daughter and my Grandmothers eyes would light up when they saw each other. One just at the beginning of this journey, and one near the end, but both were connecting with each other in such an amazing way. G.G. is what we would call her, for Great Grandmother, I know, not original, but still it was a new name. It must be cool to live long enough to get that title. I swear when those two hung out my Grandmother became young again. She had been given a little more time, a little more life.
My daughter was very young at the time and only really remembers G.G. from the stories we would tell. She is reminded all the time about the light she gave to my grandmother. The joy she provided just by being there. Knowing that someone loved you is important. It gives my daughter the confidence that she’s got a whole team behind her and above her watching over her making sure she knows what love feels like.
To me it is funny. See G.G.’s husband, my grandfather, died before he got to meet his Great Grandchild. In fact, he died before I even went to college. But, he was a doctor his whole life. He lived his life helping others, providing medical care for so many. Life is cool in that way sometimes. While my Grandfather was long gone before my wife and I meet with the doctor who told us to have kids young, did he play a part in that? We never knew it at the time, but maybe he wanted to make sure his bride was able to experience the beginning of life one more time before she joined him up at the pearly gates.
It’s never too late to create a new relationship with someone. And, while mine started as a selfish college kid, it turned into something I think about often, something that has given me WAY more than $25 a week. The bond between a Great Grandmother and my little girl was special. When their eyes met, it felt like the world stopped. It was breathtaking.
Love is pretty cool sometimes; spread it as far as you can.