I’ve thought a lot about my childhood lately. The focus on family. The times spent with my Mom and Pap. Activities with Daddy, Mama, and my sister, Becky. Holiday traditions. Big extended family gatherings. Cousins as close as brothers and sisters.
What has me thinking about this? I’m not sure. It probably has to do with my own grandchildren and the prayer that they grow up with the same heritage that emphasizes the importance of home and family. Maybe it’s because one of my sons and his wife don’t live near us anymore and I’m missing them terribly. Perhaps it is from family rifts and divisions that make no sense to me. Quite possibly it is just what we go through as we get older.
Whatever the reason, I’m relishing in the memories!
Growing up Daddy and Mama both worked full time (at least from the time I can remember. Mama took some time off work when I was born.) That meant I was privileged to spend every day with my grandparents, Pap and Mom. Just the memories of those wonderful years could feel pages and pages…probably books and books.
When the weather was warm, Pap sat under the big tree next to their garage and watched while I played. He was the gas station worker for my bike. (All bikes need gas, right?) Pap pretended right along with me as I paid him with mimosa tree leaves. If I wanted to ride the pony, Rex, then Pap went and saddled Rex. He led me around their yard until Rex could do it all on his own. Once he let me ride Rex down to the road to the creek and back. Well Rex decided he was finished when we got to the creek. I turned him around to head home. He decided he needed to get back to the barn…NOW! Rex was running, I was yelling, and Pap just stood up calmly as I was about to pass by him. He grabbed Rex’s bridle with one hand and me with the other. Once again, my hero! He was the knee bouncing, singing, happy man that I adored!
Mom was a pillar of strength and love! She was diagnosed with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis early in her adult life. Her hands were twisted and stiff. Yet, in all my many days and years spent close to her side, I never remember a complaint…NOT. A. SINGLE. COMPLAINT! She cooked delicious suppers for my family nightly so my mom didn’t have to worry with it. She processed/canned the multitude of Pap’s garden’s harvest. She made us the best chocolate chip cookies! Her love of Jesus was evident and contagious!
She was also a jokester! She lived with us due to health issues when I was a teenager. We had watched her literally come back from the brink of death. At the time of this memory, her hospital bed was in our front living room. I was getting ready to go out the front door to the bus. When I walked into the living room, she was splayed across her bed…looking like she had fallen that way! I yelled for Mama who came running. Every horrible thought possible ran through my mind in those few seconds. Mom slowly turned over…laughing! She then said, “Got ya, didn’t I?” Oh my! She had heard me coming and decided I needed a good laugh (or scare!) before I went to school.
I’m sure there were times…probably many times…each of them had to correct me or discipline me in some way. However, I remember none of that! I don’t remember them even telling me no. I remember them loving me actively! I remember them teaching me through experiences! I remember them living life as an example to me and our great big extended family. I hope Doug and I are half as great as they were as grandparents.