I can’t count the moments of your life where I think to myself, “I wish your grandpa was here to see this.” You never got a chance to meet him. I’ve missed him for two thirds of my life, but I have missed him for all of yours. Until I became a parent, I didn’t truly realize how many memories we had yet to make.
I realize I’ve never taken the time to tell you all about him. To be honest, as the years go by, I start to worry that I’ll forget the details. So I wanted to take a minute to tell you about the man I loved so deeply, whose love surrounds our lives every single day.
He was funny, the kind of funny that never tries to be funny, it was just who he was. He wanted to make others laugh, and he did it very well. I see that in you sometimes. You have this sparkle in your eye and I love how much you love to create laughter and joy. I love that when you describe your friends, humor is one of the first things you mention. It’s important. It will matter in life.
Your grandpa worked hard, really hard, in all that he did. He would expect that from you, too. He used to always tell me to find something I truly loved and if I did that, work would never feel like work. He was right. He worked hard in his career, but he loved it. I never knew if he had a good day or a bad day at work, because when he came home to me and your grandma, he was always so glad to see us. He left his day at the door and I hope we all learn to get better at this.
He was always the optimist and it was contagious. He always saw the good. I see that trait in you, too. I love the way you find a way to focus on the good. It mattered to him to do good – so he did. And so do you. He wanted to help those who might need it and I love the way your heart does, too. You care so much about those around you and I pray that you continue to feel that way for the rest of your life. If we don’t spend our days helping others, what else really matters.
He kept candy in the center console of his car, and he would hand them over on the mornings he drove me to school. It was morning and he was giving me candy. He kept a stash of candy bars in his top desk drawer and he never hesitated to share those with me either. When I would sit in his office, he always made me feel like it was essential for me to be there. He made me feel that I was important, and I hope I make you feel that way, too. On the mornings he drove me to school, we sang the songs he loved at the top of our lungs. You and I sing in the car, too, and I hope you always do. I hope when certain songs come on, they always remind you of a crisp October morning as you drove to school and felt nothing other than absolute love.
He is the reason I am obsessed with music and therefore, so are you. He loved it and appreciated it more than most and I’ve never met another child who knows more about songwriters or lyric meanings than you.
He is the reason I love college football. I love watching you cheer for the teams I love, because I’m cheering for the teams he loved.
He was one of those people that others were just drawn to. He had a smile that lit up a room and he was the one making that room laugh. He was a light, just like you.
When I see you love the things he loved, I see an extension of him. You remind me that he is still here. Sometimes I feel him so strongly that it’s as if he is sitting right next to me. Sometimes I feel him at your big life moments and I am certain he is there. Sometimes I see him in random moments when you unknowingly stick out your tongue as you focus on your homework. Sometimes I see him in you when you raise one eyebrow, questioning something I have just said. You have this frown I love because it reminds me of him.
You are my reminder that he was once here. You never got a chance to meet him, but because of you, he’s right here.