Thursday, March 11, 2021

If I Can Be Like That

[My grandparents; whom I haven't hugged or spent time with in over a year.]

When I was younger, I spent my days with my grandma. She woke up at 4:30 a.m. daily. She always had music playing loudly on the record player and the TV on. She cooked every meal, baked, ran all of the errands, did all of the cleaning. She raised five kids, took care of the entire family, and helped to raise me. Did I mention she was a nurse on top of it all? She is an amazing women. I remember being four years old and wondering how she did it all. As an adult, I still wonder how she did it all. 

Several years ago, my grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimers. My grandpa took over as caretaker. Not only her caretaker, but he took on everything she once did.  A role he didn't know because my grandma was the master at it. I've watched them the last several years as their roles in life changed. Always together, but with a new dynamic to their life and relationship. There have been many struggles, but they truly are a shining example of "in sickness and in health." 

The cake in this picture represents so much. It's just a piece of cake, you say. Wait until I tell you that it was my (nearly) eighty-four year old grandpa who baked this cake for my dad's birthday yesterday. My grandpa didn't learn to bake or cook until he was in his eighties. He not only made a cake, but he decorated it as well. I could write an entire paragraph about this because I'm so damn impressed. 

My grandma set an example for me in my younger years. I find music always playing loudly in my house, I'm happiest when I'm busy, and I can never pass up a good musical. My grandparent's marriage has set an example for my husband and I (and our entire family). How the roles may change in life, but taking care of each other is the number one priority. My grandpa has set an example for me in my midlife. Never stop learning new things. Never stop growing. Never be afraid to take on life's challenges. 

Recently, I sat with a friend and spoke about aging. We both shared that we don't want to stop living. Not that we're afraid of dying, but that we want to live a full life. We want to be there for every moment until the end. That's exactly how my grandpa is living his later years. If I can be like that, if I can be half of the people my grandparents have shown me they are....well, I would give anything to be like that.