I've been thinking a lot about grandparents lately. Maybe because Grandma is supposed to come visit in a few weeks, and Nana & Pawpaw are coming in August (or at least that is DaddyA and my plans for them.) But for whatever reason, grandparents are on my mind.
I, unfortunately, lost all of my grandparents somewhat early in my adult-life. I say "somewhat" because I don't know if I was an adult at that point or just pretending. Anyway, I digress. Let me begin with my Grandma (Mom's mom.) She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when I was in high school and died the day after my 21st birthday. And as horrible as this sounds, I'm happy that she died the day after instead of ON my birthday. As it was, the funeral was 4 days later and the night of the funeral my brother and his wife at the time took me out drinking since I was legal. Grandma was very crabby. Guess that's where my sister gets it. My best memory of her was going to visit by myself and staying a week or so. At night we were in the bathroom brushing our teeth and she takes her dentures out right in front of me then gums at me. That's the best way I can describe what happened, but it's lacking. I'm disappointed with my memories of Grandma simply because I can talk to some of my cousins and they have Wonderful memories. The difference was they lived in the same town as Grandma whereas my family lived 10 to 12 hours away and I would only see Grandma on Thanksgiving and Spring Breaks and maybe a trip in the Summer. Very much a bummer!
The other side Grandparents (Dad's parents) were 100% Finnish. From Finland. Come to live in America when my father was a young boy. My dad is the oldest of 5, and apparently parentage of all siblings is questionable. I know that Grandma was definitely my Grandma. But as I have grown up, family tends to talk to you as an adult when you are an adult, I think Grandma was married to my Dad's dad in Finland and then he died; she married someone else and had an aunt and then HE died; then she married "Grandpa" and had 3 more children and came to America. That's all conjecture on my part since I never was able to just come out and ask Grandma while she was alive, and I'm not that close to that side of the family to be able to ask one of my aunts. I digress...back to my memory: I remember going to visit my Grandpa (whether he was biological or not) and him making some Finnish dish. I took a taste and couldn't get it past my tongue. It was disgusting. Being the good girl I was/am? I excused myself post-haste and spit it over his deck into the forest that surrounded his house. That's all I remember of that side of Grandparents.
Kind of sad when I write it out like this. I want more! I want time with both sides of my heritage to sit at their feet and learn more about who they were as people and what experiences they had! Granted I know I will not have that opportunity this side of heaven, and I have accepted that, but it doesn't take away the yearning I do have. I also want more for my girls. I know that being distanced due to DaddyA's job does not foster a good relationship for my girls, but it is what it is. One would think that technology has helped enable my girls to know their Grandparents better than I knew mine, but I think they are still too young (5 & 1) to really be able to use the technology without help and sometimes there just isn't that much time in a day. I hope that the little time that we get to be back home (where DaddyA and I grew up) and the times that the Grandparents come visit us will be enough for the girls to get to know their ancestors before they too leave us. (Not that I am wishing either side to pass quickly, on the contrary I love both sides. I'm not just saying that either. Think I like his side more than my own actually.)
I guess what I am saying is I want more out of my girls relationships with their grandparents than what I was able to get out of mine. I don't want them to look back in 25 or 30 years and say "It sucked that Daddy's job kept us away from family and I never knew my Grandma/Grandpa/Nana/Papa." That's what I want: More!