Have you ever made just an everyday simple decision that altered your life? I mean like ordering a tomato sandwich and the person next to you strikes up a conversation about tomatoes, and it turns out to be your mom’s long lost brother?
Well, over a year ago, my husband and I decided that we wanted to move from the balcony of our church to the seats on the first floor. We had no particular reason; it was just sort of… a whim. Our sanctuary holds thousands of seats, so we could have sat ANYWHERE! But we happened to sit down next to the loveliest couple a family could ever meet.
Upon introductions that particular Sunday in our new seats, there was no doubt about it, the husband and wife at the end of our row were kindred spirits to us. No! More than kindred spirits, it was love at first site. We were the new recipients of the best kind of adopted grandparents a family could have…The kind that ALWAYS has candy…the kind that ONLY sees the beauty in the child, instead of the mismatched shoes…the kind that remembers the birthday you never even mentioned…the kind that FOREVER smiles.
Mimi Frances and Paw Paw Charlie adopted us that first Sunday and we spent the year growing in friendship and making memories with this precious couple. The first time they had us to their house for dinner, we pulled into the driveway and noticed that even the path to the front door spoke of fun and love. Paw Paw created a wonderland in his yard. Every detail had children in mind; from the rock garden with little marble frogs, to the four-foot fishpond, complete with a rope swing for the kids to swing on. Our children spent hours swinging over the pond, falling into it and laughing, just like Paw Paw planned.
When they tired of that, the zip line Paw Paw tied to the big tree in the front yard found the kids flying full speed ahead into the fence. This resulted in guffaw laughing by everyone including the flattened flyer. The rose bush lost its place at the end of the zip line after one grandchild landed face first in it due to the angle. Paw Paw laughed for months over that one, but he was kind enough to promptly yank it out, rather than be disowned by a prickly child. Smart man.
Paw Paw never lacked a hug and a smile, a comic strip or a piece of chocolate. Paw Paw… the best kind of grandpa a kid could ask for.
Last Sunday was our last time to see Paw Paw Charlie on this side of Heaven. Jesus took him home on Monday. Our family will never be the same. He reminded us how to live our days with FULL child-like JOY, no matter our age. He loved completely, lived wholeheartedly and cared for everyone in his path. I am so thankful to the Lord for the gift of Paw Paw Charlie to us. Mimi Frances, his beloved princess, and our family will miss him more than words can express. We will ache with sadness at his empty seat on Sundays, but the crazy memories he gave us will return the chuckles and the hope of seeing him again will dry up the tears while we wait.
This Thanksgiving, I thank the Lord for the gift of grandparents. Grandparents of all shapes, sizes and dispositions.