Dear Gramps,

Hi Grandpa. Happy Birthday.

This is the first birthday of yours we have had without you. I remember last year when I called you on October 1st, and it was so nice to just chat. Since this birthday I can’t speak to you in person, I thought I’d write to you here, just to say a little hello.

First, I hope you are well. Not exactly sure what the afterlife entails for all of us, but I know what I hope it entails for you and Grams. Lots of cocktails and sun. And each other.

We sure do miss you. Many of your family members have posted something on facebook about you today (I know you didn’t know exactly what that was, but hopefully now you have been caught up in the loop) so your lack of presence has been sadly noted. Your family misses you. We always will.

My life has had some ups and downs. The big upside is the time I am getting to write my dissertation, and honestly, get my life in some order. I have loved being able to write during the day, as well as do the tasks that I always did with haste in the past. For this year, and this year only, I get to take some time to watch my children grow, as well as myself. Although there has not been a lot of posts on this blog, I have been more introspective recently than ever before. I think this is because I have had a lot of time to myself. Being on my own with very little distractions around me has made me think about my life and where it is going. It’s a good thing, mostly. 😉

As for the downs, well, I won’t focus on them much, but I’ll just say that with thoughtful actions and an open heart, things are looking up. There are times in life when guidance towards a more peaceful path can help tremendously, even if the effort to get there is high. I am thankful for the guidance, and the support along the way. I know you are a part of that Gramps. Thanks for the little nudges when I needed them. Keep ’em coming.

Kyle is good. He is working hard as his wife sits at home/coffee shop/college library on the computer. Not only is he working every day, but has also taken up a new hobby of making me beer. Seriously, a husband who won’t touch alcohol is making his wife beer. Kyle and I may get into disagreements sometimes but if he ever threw that in my face, well, he wins. Hands down.

The children are great. Seriously. Grandpa, did you really love my mom as much as I love River and Autumn? It doesn’t seem possible for someone to love another as much as I love my two children. Sure, River has his moments, and Autumn, well, she can be one persistent toddler, but man I didn’t know love could be this big.

River’s endless stories about finding treasures and catching stars, creating magic and being a super hero. Autumn’s sneaky little grin when she’s about to do something she shouldn’t, her endless stream of words that make perfect sense to her but none to us, and her all out smile when she passes a stranger just breaks me into pieces. I now know what it means to want to bottle up that love so it is never forgotten, and always there when you need it. I know the love I have for my children will last forever, but I just want to keep it exactly as it is today. Perfect.

But our idea of perfection changes, does it not?

This weekend at church (Yes! I am attending… sometimes:) the sermon was about loving another fully and selflessly. I want to give myself like that. My love for my kids and Kyle is BIG, but so many times I realize that I just want to do what I want to do and I put myself before others. Yes, I know that this is NORMAL, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of that, but I’m not talking about those little actions here or there, but the big ones. I hope I would always put those I love before myself when it comes to something big.

But I have doubts.

Hm. I guess we all have doubts. Unless you’re Jesus, Buddha, etc. Well, even they must have had doubts here and there, which has got to be one of the most interesting/annoying parts about being alive.

I hope you have some clarity on that now. I sure as heck hope I get some when I pass. Seems only fair.

Anyway, I am looking forward to going to Hawaii (yes, again) in the next couple of days. Colin, as you know, kicked some serious butt in his last Ironman and won (WON!) his age group. He came in 11th out of EVERYone. Ha, as I am writing this, up swells that love thing again. You know, it’s the kind that just starts deep in your stomach and rises until it hits your face (which in turn creates a ridiculously huge smile?) I am super proud of him and super excited to be a part of the Kona Ironman Championship race. Even though I am not the one participating, a part of me is. And I am going to be the best ‘sister-of-a-Kona-participant’ EVER.

So, Gramps, that is my life for now. I love you so much. I miss your voice, your strong hands, and your monstrous hugs. I appreciate all that you and Grams have done for me, and all of us, since you’ve left this world. I KNOW you are watching out for us. Keeping us safe and somewhat sane. I feel you both with me often. Whether it’s your memory, or your spirit, or both, I thank you. Happy Birthday.

xxoo

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