“Grandparents make the world…a little softer, a little kinder, a little warmer.”
Tomorrow is Grandparents Day. Quite possibly the most overlooked holiday in our culture. We celebrate other holidays with parades, days off, and memorials. We celebrate recognize Father’s day and Mother’s day but what about Grandparents day? So with that said I wanted to write about my grandparents. Pay tribute to those who have passed and highlight those who are still here and still bring love and joy into my life and my children’s lives.
Luckily for me my family is relatively young. Each generation is about 20 years a part. So I grew up with all my grandparents around and even great-grandparents. I loved it. Grandparents are the center of the family unit. They are the anchor of the family. Thier history and wisdom are essential for grandkids. There is a certain bond between a grandchild and grandparent that is undeniable. At least for me anyways.
My great-grandfathers Leslie Caldwell and Robert Craw was extraordinary loving men. Both as young men served in WWII and after the military continued to be honorable men within their communities. They were loved and cherished by us all within the families and still to this day are missed. Great-Grandpa Craw lived in Indiana so unfortunately I didn’t see him a whole lot but when I would he was always so warm, funny, and a character. My great-Grandpa Caldwell I have more memories of as we lived in the same city and obviously shared more holidays together. I remember as a kid christmas eve, as tradition, going to my great grandparents house and him reading “The Night Before Christmas”. Both were so loving and devoted family men.
My great-grandmother, Hazel Caldwell passed away at the beginning of this year. A true matriarch of our Caldwell family. This woman was so hilarious and witty. I miss hearing stories about what she did to embarrass my aunt or something funny she said. I remember one of the last times I saw her she kept on insisting on giving me a $5 bill. She wanted me to have it and by god she wasn’t taking no for an answer. Even as she was growing older and down to her final days she still kept her head strong personality. My other great-grandma Johnson- I unfortunately do not have memories of. She passed away while I was quite small. My grandmother and mother adored her and I know if they did, I would have too. I wish I could’ve met her.
My Grandma and Grandpa Brooks – Though grandpa Brooks, also a WWII veteran, passed away when I was 13. I have many wonderful memories of him. Going to visit him and he sitting there listening to his talk radio smoking his pipe and discussing what was wrong with the world. He was hard of hearing so he spoke loudly and thus we had to speak loudly to him so he could hear us. The TV would be blaring so loud sometimes you couldn’t hear yourself think lol. I remember playing cards, and the triangle peg game. I remember he would let us grandkids ride around on his scooter like it was a race car. They were snow birds and in the summer would head north to Massachusetts. That is where my grandma Brooks resides permanently now. She is getting up there in age and her memory is fading slowly. I haven’t seen her in a few years as with life scheduling, money, and her health makes it hard for either of us to travel. She still to this day makes THE BEST fudge. Holiday times I start craving the fudge and breads she makes. She was a homemaker her whole life, devoted to my grandfather and her children. I remember as a child singing songs with her and retrieving pine cones that had fallen from her tree. I remember going over for breakfast sometimes and she would make homemade pancakes and they literally would be the size of a large frisbee! So many great memories from my childhood. I am thankful that they were a part of my life. Most importantly thankful for being who they were and adopting my dad and his two siblings. Keeping the three of them together so that they could grow up alongside each other and their kids (me and my cousins) could know each other. I thank them tremendously for that.
Which leads me to my Gramma Marilyn – Though she knew who I was all along, I didn’t discover who she really was until the age of 8/9. My inquisitive self came across a birthday card to my dad that was signed ‘mom’ which led me to ask, ‘why does she sign the card mom?’ Up until that point I just figured they were family friends. Looking back I know I put my dad in a tight spot having to explain adoption to a 8-year-old, but luckily for him I was bright and understood. At the age of 8 going from calling her marilyn to grandma seemed different and out of context but it soon faded and we developed a wonderful relationship. I’ve always felt fortunate since that day. I not only had all my grandmothers still around to enjoy, I had three of them! My grandma Marilyn and I made up for lost time and share many memories and even more of laughs. Never a dull moment, that’s for sure. Especially now with Don in her life. A wonderful man who I just love. Spending the weekend with them in November while I was in town for a conference was so awesome and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
My grandpa and grandma Caldwell – What can I say! I have sooo many memories that I can’t even put them all into this already long blog. I would spend the night and my grandma and I’s imagination was endless. One night we had a fabulous dinner and traveled the world all while sitting at her dining room table. We could find the littlest things humorous. Things that others may not understand we do: the snow bunny cowboy, the corpse singing in the choir, the half xmas tree, the rewashed windows, the piranha in the pond incident, the iguana in the tree, trying to squeeze the bunny mansion in a two door Chevy Cavalier, christy eating the whole pumpkin pie, exuberant amount of time stirring jello, sweeda sweeda lady…So many more. So many memories at their house for me and my cousins. My grandpa always silly taking his teeth out just to get my brother and cousins to chuckle. A loving man with a sweet demeanor and already adored by my two year old. I was fortunate to live with them for a short time so I could finish out my senior year at King. I loved those few months. They have always been my biggest fans, pushing me to be the best I can be. Always supportive. I adore my grandpa and grandma. We’re very close and they are huge pillars in my life.
I am very fortunate of all my grandparents. All the memories. All the things that each individual one has taught me. I love them all. They have all been so supportive in my dreams and goals. So on the eve of another grandparents day I thank each of you for what you have given to me. I love you all so much.
– XOXO Adrian Marie