About two weeks ago on the Friday before I headed out with 23 other folk to Israel, I decided to do a bit of Lyfting. I pulled up in a neighborhood just west of Denver University. Out on the front porch was what seemed to be an obvious three generation goodbye. The woman in her mid 50’s was crying profusely as she was joined by her daughter, who was laughing and crying at the same time. The infant boy was not to be outdone and he added to the cry chorus along with flailing arms and feet. I got out of the car to load luggage in to my hatchback for our trek to DIA. Grandma hopped in the front seat and it took her a couple of minutes to gather her emotions. She said “I am sorry to have to bring all this emotion into your car”. “No worries, that was a beautiful scene. I can identify – believe me- I have spent plenty of ‘good-bye’ tears myself with kids and grandkids spread all over three states”.
We had a very engaging conversation all the way to the United Airlines drop off. We talked life, family, faith and even the Minnesota Vikings. I shared with her that my buddy ‘Dr. Jim’, a retired pediatrician, likes to think of God as our HEAVENLY GRANDPARENT… “Grandparents love unconditionally, but they give the kids some space”. She fully embraced the idea. I shared that I had just spent two weeks on the island 🌴 🌴🌴 of Kauai with two of my grandkids, which in my world 🌎 is ‘as good as it gets’. I am already marking off days on my calendar 📆 when I take my son Mateo and grandson Makaio, on a guy trip to Puerto Rico🇵🇷 and beyond. She thanked me for a “therapeutic Lyft” and I thanked her for her radiant spirit.
Next stop: nine days in Israel 🇮🇱. This was my 3rd time there in nine years. Each experience stands on its own. Maybe it was because I was thinking about writing about being a grandparent, but I became keenly aware of dozens of interactions with people in their 50’s-80’s and what seemed to be their grandkids. We were there last Thursday for the celebration of Purim… sort of a Jewish excuse to dress up in costumes and hit all the public places. I saw grandmas with too many sweet treats, grandpas holding kids in their arms or taking them by the hand. I also watched many Arab Muslim families laughing, sharing food or just sitting in the shade.
When I have been asked who influenced my life the most I have a very clear answer: “My Grandmother Opal. She was a master story teller, tenacious, a preacher’s kid, and in the first graduating class from what is now the University of Northern Colorado, that allowed women to go to college. When my girls were young teens she sat them down and said “You girls are getting to live in a world that I could only dream of…don’t blow it”… words they could only hear from Grandma 👵.
Onward and Upward,