HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
September 3, 2007, Herald Journal

The presence of grandparents

By JENNIFER GALLUS

I’ve often wondered if those who are lucky enough to have grandparents who attend parties, gatherings, or just stop by for an occasional visit, realize their good fortune.

My grandparents have always lived in the Twin Cities, and unfortunately, both my grandfathers have passed away.

Both of my grandmothers do not drive any longer, which limits, (well mostly prevents), any possible “drop in” visits. They are also getting to the age where attending parties, especially an hour away, is not very attractive.

My husband’s late grandmother, Jay, and grandfather, Les, could be counted on to drop in a few times per summer before returning to their Arizona home for the winter.

Jay was a happy lady. She always had a smile on her face, and was forever keeping herself busy. She would even pull weeds along our sidewalk as she left our house, and she was in her 80s!

Les and my husband’s other grandfather, Ralph, do attend our parties, and their presence is appreciated and important.

Grandparents give us our connection to generations past. They have a lot to offer, but sometimes, just their presence speaks more than words.

My husband and I were at a party Saturday night for a girl who was going away to college. Her brother is a friend of ours, and he was the one hosting the party.

His grandparents were at the party, and as they left, the grandma picked up her pan of buns she had brought to the party, emptied the remaining buns onto a plate, and took her empty pan.

I looked at the grandparent couple, and thought about how great it would be to have that at my house.

One of my grandfathers, Orin, died when I was only 2-years-old. The other, Ray, passed away about 4 years ago. But even when my grandpa Ray was alive, he never visited people outside his house because of post-war trauma.

He was a funny, funny guy, but he just wasn’t comfortable out of his house. He experienced some horrible stuff in WW II that messed with his mind to an extent.

So, I have never had a grandparent couple (of mine) visit my house.

Of course, there’s nothing I can do about my grandparent wishes, except to remind others to appreciate their grandparents before it’s too late, especially the ones who are still able to stop by for a visit.

I realize I’m lucky, despite my longing for the return of those occasional visits of years past. I have two wonderful grandmothers, and even though they can’t come see me, I can go visit them.

In many ways, when the time comes that grandparents can no longer visit us in our homes, it becomes even more important that we make the time to go visit them in their homes.

Kid-isms

My 6-year-old often tells me he was once an angel. The other day he said, “When I was an angel, I asked Jesus for a taxi fish. You know the ones that are striped? He’s swimming in the heaven water pool.”