Early this morning my grandfather passed away. He has been extremely ill for the last few days and many times my thoughts have gone not only to him, but to all of my grandparents. I have been extremely lucky in the grandparent department, as I had all four into young adulthood. Sadly I only have one left now. Many people never know all of their grandparents and it saddens me that some miss out on that special relationship.
I grew up in the same town as both sets of my grandparents and got to spend a great deal of time with them. I have a memory filled with family dinners, Sundays at church, holidays around the table, and family work days. I can think back and become my little girl self who loves walking through my grandfather's vegetable garden, eating fresh peas and carrots. Baking with my Mimaw. Watering my DeeGee's flowers in her greenhouse. Riding in the back of my Pawpaw's station wagon to get ice cream. We often spent nights at their houses and went there when we were home sick from school. They were at my birthday dinners and dance recitals and soccer games. I never realized how lucky I was to have them as an every day part of my life.
Grandparents are so important. They tell us what life was like in the good ole' days. They teach us family history and tell stories from their childhood. I will never forget sitting on the swing under my Mimaw's porch listening to stories about her life on Signal Mountain, her horse, and my grandfather courting her. The hours around the table at the beach, listening to my DeeGee talk about life when she was a young girl in Richmond and as a young pilot's wife during the war. Both of my grandfathers told us stories of being in the Navy. These are moments that I will cherish forever and pass down to my own grandchildren.
Grandparents are a gateway into our parents lives before they had us. They let us know that our parents were kids too once, long ago. If it weren't for my grandparents I would never know that my dad liked to give the baby sitter a hard time or my mom was always in trouble for not eating her vegetables. The glimpse that they gave me into my parent's lives was priceless. My favorite part of any family get together is when everyone starts telling stories about when they were little. I love hearing about my parents when they were young and silly, before life and age made them into adults. It helps to know they did some dumb stuff in their youth too.
I am so happy that Lady Baby has her grandparents and that she loves them all. Someday she will beg to hear stories about her mom and dad just the way I did. She will learn things from them that will change her life in little ways but that she will carry with her forever. Maybe the right way to hem a pair of pants, or the best time to plant bulbs. A love for cooking or how to swing a golf club. Whatever they teach her, she will always have the amazing memories of spending time with her grandparents and knowing how much she is loved by them.
As I age and have little left but memories, certain smells always take me back to the grandparents I have lost. Roses and roast are my Mimaw. Pipe smoke is my Pawpaw Stauber. Sawdust is my Pawpaw Park. Whenever I smell one of those things, I am transported back in time to being a little girl who was very loved by some very special people.