My maternal grandparents have been blessed with not only four children and 12 grandchildren but also with five great grandchildren (two more on the way) and a great-great grandchild on the way. They have been married for 62 years.
Since my family was the only one to live in the same state as my grandparents, they were always there when I was growing up. They came to my t-ball games and dance recitals. They were taking care of us when I lost my first tooth on Halloween in third grade. We woke up to my Grandma’s coffee pot gurgling on Christmas morning. Considering I am the youngest of the grandchildren, I have been given the gift of a lot of time with my grandparents.
However, this past Christmas made me realize how quickly time is passing. My grandparents are now in their mid-80s. My Grandma falls often and walks with a walker. My Grandpa has Alzheimer’s and is always tired. They have become so fragile.
Not knowing how many Christmases we have left with them or even how much time, we have been looking for ways to connect. My sister found the perfect gift for them that actually is a gift for us. Little books, one for my grandfather, the other for my grandmother, that asks them questions about their lives. “Tell us a story about your mother.” “Tell us about your first job and how much you made.” “How did you and Grandma meet?” “What are three major events that happened during your lifetime and how did it affect you?”
My Grandma has the best memory of anyone I’ve ever met and is an avid genealogist. My Grandpa has lost his short-term memory but can remember his childhood quite clearly. We spent hours learning about their families, how they grew up, and what was significant to them. My Grandpa worked at NASA when we put a man on the moon. He is still so proud. My Grandmother can remember everything about how she met my Grandpa. Especially that she gave him an ultimatum. Go Grandma.
This time together showed me how much they loved their family and how proud they were. My Grandma mentioned that when you get older, all your friends pass away, so all you have left is your family. My Grandpa kept cracking jokes which is a good sign.
I came out of this holiday season thinking about the future.
How my grandparents probably won’t ever see me get married or have kids.
How hard Alzheimer’s is going to get.
And how much I am going to miss them.