Last Wednesday was my Grandfather's birthday. He would have been 76 years old. He has been gone almost three years and I still find it odd to not be buying and mailing him a birthday card. He still fills my mind in ways that I can't comprehend. When things are going poorly, I find myself wondering what he would say or what he would tell me to do. The other night I had a disturbing dream involving running away from some evil something while carrying Ben and trying to protect him. In my dream, I asked myself "What would Grandpa do if he were here?" and in my gut, I knew - he would try to protect us.
Dr. Seuss said "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened". I really love that message but it's hard sometimes to live it. My grandfather was a retired police officer, he was opinionated, forceful and stubborn. He was a driving force in our family and the relative I was closest to. He kept my secrets and gave me advice (whether I wanted it or not). Most importantly, he gave me unconditional love and support. On the night my husband proposed, I only made two phone calls. I called my father and then I called my grandparents. I woke them out of a dead sleep because of the time difference but they were overjoyed to hear my news.
Sometimes I feel sad to know that my son will never meet the person who had such an influence in his mother's life. The man he is named after. Even more so that my Grandfather never got to meet Benjamin. I didn't get pregnant until three months after he passed away. I feel certain that he would have liked Ben and probably doted on him similarly to the way he spoiled me as a child. Similarly to the way that Benjamin's own grandfather, my father in law, dotes on him. And that gives me solace and makes me smile.
My father-in-law is an incredibly kind and generous man. He is warm and he is wise. He shows mercy and caring to others even in situations where common sense might say otherwise. He is a man that I hope my son can grow to be like. Better still, Benjamin adores him. "Papa" was one of his first words and one that he says frequently. When my in-laws visit, Ben is always within an arm's length of his papa. Nothing causes him more distress than if Papa goes somewhere that he cannot go. So, my patient father-in-law takes care to make sure that doesn't happen very often. As a result, whether he is doing repairs around our house or digging in the yard, Ben is right there with him.
I will always miss my Grandpa. I suspect that on his 96th birthday, I will feel the same as I did on his 76th. I will always be a little sad that he and Ben never met. But, Ben has his own grandpa who he adores and who adores him (as only a grandpa can). His own person to tell secrets to and share stories, who will teach him, love him unconditionally and protect him from the world. And that makes it easier to smile.