My Favorite Love Story

So, I apologize for the editorial calendar deviation this weekend – it was just so nice outside! Such weekends must be enjoyed properly here in the desert as they are normally a good indication that summer is on its way. Yes, I said summer. See here in Phoenix, there’s no such thing as fall or spring really – if you’re lucky you get maybe a week of each. As most people joke here in Phoenix the seasons are warm, warmer, and OMG WHY DO I LIVE HERE?! I’d say we’re in the warmer right now, and I do hope it lasts at least through March!

South Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona

South Mountain Park, Phoenix, Arizona

Anyway, enough on the weather (and my additional apologies for anyone still buried in snow reading this – I promise your turn will come soon enough – smile). I’ve been having great fun profiling some of my family’s stories on the blog this month; however, the last two are a bit tricky. You see there’s a bit of a scandal involved, which I would never dare publish on here (sorry guys, but it would just feel like such an invasion of privacy for those involved). Due to this background, a lot of the facts surrounding these last two couples is a bit sketchy and also a touchy subject. So I’ll do my best and hope you forgive some of the lack of details on the historic portions. If I ever get to the bottom of those missing details, I’ll be sure to update these posts. Likewise with photos…

Up today we have my favorite set of grandparents (I know you’re not supposed to have favorites, but we all do so as it goes #sorrynotsorry) – my dad’s mother and her second husband.

grandparents, Alabama

Grandpa & Gran

How they met: I know they met through the church community, although I’m completely lacking on details.

Married: 30+ years.

About Him: My grandpa grew up on a farm in the local community, the younger of two brothers. He worked as a school bus driver in his spare time and can still, to this day, tell you pretty much everyone that was on his route. He often greets strangers with an opening that goes something like “Are you so-and-so’s child? Your mom/dad/etc used to ride my school bus route and (insert story here).” If you can’t gather it from that, my grandpa knows no strangers and is probably one of the most outgoing people I know. He’s had several careers in his lifetime, finally being forced to retire at age 80. In the 6 years since his “retirement” he’s been operating his own lawn care operation. The man cannot sit still! But I think he mostly does it for the social interaction. My grandpa is big into the church and is a member of the Gideons (they hand out bibles among other things). Every Christmas for as long as I can remember he’s played Santa Clause in the local community, including making calls to his list of kids on Christmas Eve so they know he’s on his way. I’m not sure the man has ever met a child that didn’t instantly love him… My grandpa has never missed a school function of mine – regardless of time, date, or location. And, probably most importantly, he loves my grandma beyond all reason.

About Her: The oldest of 5 children (and the only girl), my grandma was born and raised not far from where she currently resides. Unlike my grandpa, my Gran is an introverted person. She loves her church and is also involved in the Gideon’s, but her free time is mostly spent with books and plants. Sadly, although I probably take after her more than any other relative, I failed to inherit one very important trait from Gran – a green thumb. I’m not sure she has ever met a plant that didn’t love her. She has a huge yard full of exotic and local flowers, shrubs, bushes, trees, etc, etc. I love just walking around the yard to see what’s currently in bloom! Like my mother and my other grandmother, Gran is a big reader. I got quite an education sneaking some of the more adult books (not adult-themed, just not appropriate for 12 year olds) when I was younger. She and I spent many lovely, long afternoons out on the sun porch with books (smile). Her other love is travel (and I blame her for my wanderlust). She escorted me on my very first trip abroad to Paris and London (quite an adventure), and has seen a good portion of the US. But her favorite place is home, with my grandpa (smile).

grandparents, Alabama

Happy Together

What I’ve learned: These guys have pretty much set the bar on my ever getting married. You see, my grandpa usually says the blessing before each meal. At least once a day in those blessings he always thanks God for Gran. Even when she’s moody, or he’s not particularly happy with her. Every. Day. He used to pick me up from school so we could go shopping for gifts – birthday, anniversary, or just because she needed a pick-me-up. And Gran always goes out of her way to make his favorite meal or to do any number of other small things to make him smile. I know they have their disagreements and no one is perfect, but they make me believe that love, in its truest form, really does exist. I may not be clear on all the background, but in the 30 years I’ve observed them, they’ve definitely become my favorite love story. How am I supposed to settle for anything less than that??

Beyond love, I’ve also learned the value of hard work as well as the value of taking time to talk to a child or smell the roses (since goodness knows I can’t grow one!). I know that sometimes you don’t get things right on the first try, but the second can be worth the pain of starting over. Oddly enough, they make me value stability, as that’s the first word that comes to mind when thinking of them – both separately and as a unit. Through life’s ups and downs, there has always been a stability with these two people that makes me feel safe in being who I am. I always know they’re my biggest fans. I hope that one day I can pass those values and feelings along to my own family, whatever that may be made up of.

grandparents, Alabama

My Favorites 🙂
(Clearly I also get my love of having my pic taken from Gran)

I would also like to mention here, now, that my grandpa has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I’ve been back more since I found out than I have in years combined, and I’m going to spend the better part of next month with them. There’s all sorts of family drama that necessitates this, but I’m really happy to do it. This is going to hurt in a whole new way, but at least I will have good memories from my beginning to his end. I don’t know what my Gran is going to do, but I hope to be there with her regardless. I want them both to know how much I love and appreciate them, both as separate people and as my grandparents.

7 thoughts on “My Favorite Love Story

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  4. Amazingly enjoyable to read these stories! I’m sorry he’s that ill now.

    Hope you realize how lucky you are to have all this info and knowledge about your family! I know almost nothing. Nobody’s alive to ask. When they were alive, I didn’t listen/memorize … what a sad story! I so regret that now, both my mum and her brother were real wells of information. I do have one juicy scandal, but I can’t write about it … or .. rather, don’t want to 😀

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    • Thank you, I’m so glad I have the chance to share! It’s been a lot of fun talking through some of the details w/my grandparents and I think they’ve enjoyed the chance to revisit some of these memories. 🙂
      I’m afraid I haven’t been very good about listening along the way, but I do feel incredibly lucky to have realized how valuable time and conversation can be with these guys. I’m definitely going to try to take full advantage while I can!
      Aren’t family stories fascinating?! I enjoy the fact that there’s a little drama sprinkled in to keep things interesting, even if it’s just in the family!

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  5. What a beautiful love story! I’m so sorry that your grandpa is so ill now. It sounds like he lived life to the fullest and experienced great love. He is blessed, and at one point we all have to go.
    I wish you strength, and hope you will be able to spend some more quality time with both of them. Thanks for sharing!

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    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! And thank you so much for the kind words – I really appreciate them! It’s going to be a challenge, but you’re right – at least he can say he’s lived a long, full life. And I know that this time here at the end will be precious for us all. I’m so grateful I have the opportunity 🙂

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