Today is National Grandparents' Day, which is basically a day to honor your grandparents and tell them how much they mean to you. I feel like I've heard about this day in past years, but for some reason, it seems to have received a lot more attention this year. Then again, maybe I'm just paying more attention this year. Either way, I wanted to recognize this day in honor of the grandparents I've been fortunate to call my own.
My maternal grandfather passed away when I was five years old. I've written about him on numerous occasions, and he was one of the most important people in my whole life. He was a hardworking, dedicated family man, who always put his grandchildren on a pedestal. He taught me love and compassion, and I wish he could have been with us longer so that my siblings could have had the opportunity to know him as well.
I was also blessed to have two grandparents who I chose for myself. As is the case with all of my brothers and sisters, blood does not make you a family, love does. One of the reasons why my parents chose my old home to move into when they were expecting me was because of the neighbors that they met when they looked at the house. These people would become deeply connected to my life as they became more than neighbors or friends; they became our family.
I found a grandfather and grandmother in two of my neighbors, and they often said that I was their first granddaughter, before any of their own children had kids. It is a title that I honor and hold dear. Unfortunately, my "adoptive grandfather" passed away when I was in seventh grade. He was such a joyous, loving man, and I have fond memories with him. We used to plant a garden in his yard together each year, and he would invite me inside to help him feed his goldfish. I remember that he would always check my brother's report card before he could give it to my parents, because he was always giving pep talks when my brother was struggling in school.
My "adoptive grandmother" is still someone whom I know I can call at any time, no matter what I need. She's always there for me, even though we're now states apart. She is always ready with a hug, and she makes the best potato salad in the whole world. She lived next door to me until nine days before my sixteenth birthday, when she moved a few hours upstate to live closer to her son and her grandchildren. I was devastated, but I lived through it. I remember one time, a few years ago, her daughter and son-in-law were driving up for a visit, and they took me along as a surprise. I stood outside the apartment door and knocked when we arrived, and when she opened the door and saw me, the look on her face was better than anything I could have ever imagined.
I have been so fortunate to have such incredible grandparents in my life, whether I knew them at all, had them with me for just a short time, or chose them for myself. I'm so thankful for each of them, and I'm celebrating this National Grandparents' Day in honor of the four of them! I love my grandparents!
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