Before I wrote Gramps' post a few weeks ago, the last blog I had written was last year's Thanksgiving thankful post. Some people like to post on Facebook daily about what they are thankful for throughout the month. Some people don't get this, they say, "you should be thankful for these things all the time, not just the month of November," or something of the likes. These people don't understand that whomever is posting their 30 days of thanks probably is genuinely thankful for these things throughout the year. November and the holiday we celebrate this month is just a good opportunity to acknowledge those things for which we are thankful.
While I don't want or need to post daily on the FB, I am truly grateful daily for the blessings I have in my life. So, why not let others know what I am thankful for? What if it is them that I am thankful for? Wouldn't it feel nice to know your presence in someone's life is appreciated? I think so:)
So, while my post may be similar to last November's post, and probably similar to much of what you have been reading on Facebook thus far this month, I still like to make the acknowledgement.
I am extremely lucky to have so many blessings in my life. I thank God daily for what I know I have and what I know not everyone is as lucky to have. So obviously the first thing I am thankful for is my relationship with Him:)
God has blessed me with an amazing family. Not just nuclear, but beyond. My cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and in-laws are a wonderful group of people. The love of a family is the best love one can have. Having all of Gramps' grandkids together last month was the biggest blessing of all. No matter how much time goes by that we do not see one another, the bond that has been there since birth is easily felt the moment we are together again. We come from the same blood and you can tell it's running through all of us. My grandmother's are amazing women. I miss my Nanny dancing around with us all, but the fact that she is still here at all makes me happy. My Non-Non amazes me daily, I admire, look up to and love her with all my heart. I wouldn't be where I am today without her. My in-laws are the greatest. Oliver's sister, family and cousins feel like they've been here all along. His father makes me smile regularly and I know God put these people in my life for a reason. I also sometimes wish Germany wasn't so far away! Now I have cousins on both sides of my family over there!
My husband is also included in that family, but he has a special place:) I do not know what I did to get so lucky to have him in my life, but I am thankful every moment for him. And what would a post about family be without mentioning the little life that he and I have created?! I cannot even begin to imagine how this little girl will change our lives, we are so excited for this journey into parenthood together and Oliver reminds me regularly that we're gonna be great at it! (Who knew he had so much confidence in parenting?!)
I am also thankful for the furry family I adore. My Tiger man whom I speak to like a real child and scoop up and rock like a baby every time I come through the door. His purr and constant presence at my feet comforts me. My Bailey Boo who just turned 11 years old whom I get on the floor with the second I walk into the White house. My furry nephews, Gatsby, Brinkley and Riggle man. Life wouldn't be the same without the furry babies I adore so much. (This also includes my friends pets, whom I like to call my best friends, like Eli and Okami and Archie, and even though I don't see them often enough; Rudy and Gus Gus.)
Speaking of friends, I am blessed with a multitude! My seven who make me laugh daily, who keep me sane and comfort me whenever needed. Our friendship has stayed strong over the years, we have watched each other grow, we have grown together and distance has had zero effect on the foundation we created so many years ago. My friends in Connecticut, especially Jess and Krystie who I am so so lucky to have! Our husbands believe we "planned and plotted" to have babies at the same time and just over a year ago while in Jamaica we were saying how awesome it would be if we all had babies at the same time. Then, one after the other, we all became pregnant. They brought two of the most beautiful boys into the world this year and Kennerly is lucky to have two protectors and best friends waiting for her. My coworkers who have become such fast friends, it will be sad to leave when baby comes but I feel so blessed to have began this new job and met these people. Then there's Hollee, who...well, I'm sure you all get sick of hearing about how great we are. My rock, my life, heart, home, my firmer foundation. Couldn't ask for a better Hollz to my Keek.
Now...speaking of life, heart, home...Zeta Tau Alpha. Three greek letters, a million memories, and friendships that have lasted distance and time. My pledge sisters whom I couldn't have made it through the Spring of 2004 without, all the way to now sharing in weddings, vacations and most of all- babies! My alpha Zeta's who I will just always have a bond with no matter how long between visits and phone calls. Then there's the Lambda Alpha's who I get to watch grow each semester into such wonderful young women. Only problem is...each new group is the same age and I just keep getting older! But I love being their advisor nonetheless.
I am also thankful for the simplicity of just being. I am thankful that whenever there is a bad moment, I have so many good things to focus on to make it better. So, there it is, my 2013 thankful post. Now, I'm gonna go back and read last year's post and probably remember other things I should have mentioned...I am just full of thanks! So for whatever I left out, I am thank for that too:)
Monday, October 28, 2013
He smelled of cigarettes, coffee and freshly cut wood. Always. Gramps loved his coffee, he loved his cigarettes. Even to the point where he used to joke (but not really joke) that for the “Great American Smoke Out” my Bears Against Drugs Club taught us about in elementary school, he would smoke extra that day. No amount of highly scientific health information he would get from his grandkids would take that soft pack of cigarettes out of his breast pocket. But that is okay, because the mix of the smells make up my grandfather and I will never forget it.
The fresh wood smell was from his woodworking shop. He sawed, carved and sanded pieces of wood into beautiful works of art in his garage on Tom’s Drive on that beautiful mountain in North Carolina. Toy trains, baby doll cradles and knick-knacks. His woodworking shop was one of my favorite places to be as a child. I can still hear the machines and see and smell the sawdust floating around in the air. One of the first things my brothers and cousins and I would do when we got to that idyllic cabin in the woods was go out for a walk with Nanny, Gramps and Buffy to find a big enough stick for Gramps to make into a superior walking stick for us. We loved traipsing through the woods to find that perfect stick. He would help us rate which ones were the best, then we would each bring one home and he would work his magic. They would be transformed from knotty, rough sticks into smooth, shapely pieces of wood that were obviously necessary pieces of equipment for children walking through woods. That was our walking stick for the rest of our visit to the mountain. The walk through those woods was another of my favorite things to do; the smell of the fallen leaves, Buffy running up ahead and Gramps whistling like only he could so she’d stop in her tracks, and either turn to look at him and wait for us to catch up, or come sprinting back toward us with her ears flush against her head in the wind. The views were breathtaking and the walks were always full of running, exploring and smiles.
Another thing we would do in those woods was shoot bb guns. Gramps always had a stock of little bronze colored bb’s that came in those little containers that looked like milk cartons. My brothers and I would take turns shooting things that Gramps would hang in the woods off the deck for us; tin pie cans, hanging on a branch from a string, milk cartons and cans lined up on a rotting log. He taught us how to use the gun safely and how to be a good shot. A few squirrels may have even been harmed in all of this, I don’t remember any specifics, but I’m not ruling it out.
I can’t really say I have any music or songs that remind me particularly of my grandfather, but the one thing I remember coming out of the speakers in his radio was Rush Limbaugh. Or just news in general, but mainly Rush. He was very into politics, history and current events. A veteran of WWII, he took pride in our country and made sure to instill that in all of us. He was so excited to get the hat one of my uncles got him that stated he was a WWII Vet. I was always proud to let people know my grandfather fought in the war. He flew an American flag at the top of the driveway that I always enjoyed putting up and taking down the flagpole with him. I also got to check the mail up there too which was always very exciting for me.
So, there is no denying my bratty side when I was a child…and I don’t remember all the details, but I did “run away” from Gramps once. It broke his heart. He probably told me no or I didn't get my way and my bratty self proceeded to tell him that he was not my parent, couldn't tell me what to do, so I was leaving. I made it as far as the end of the driveway and kind of just sat there under the big pine trees for a while. We had a good heart to heart after that and all was forgiven. He also stopped a movie once when things started to get racy and I informed him that, “Gramps! I’ve seen Dirty Dancing!” Still, the rest of the movie was a no-go for me that night. At least I didn’t run away;)
I can absolutely with no reserve say that of all the memories of Gramps that I have, riding on the back of his motorcycle is at the top of my list. Those were the most exhilarating rides, especially when we would ride up the mountain to Jump Off Rock. The winding roads of the mountain and wind in my face are things I can still see and feel. I remember the snug feel of the helmet and how cool I felt wearing it.
Gramps also made amazing scrambled eggs. Random, but factual! I could sit and reminisce all day about the wonders that made my grandfather’s life, the whiskery kiss on the cheek from his mustache, the big bear hugs, or the way his car used to tell us “the door is ajar” and he would say “it’s not a jar, it’s a door.” Or how he’d cheer me on at swim meets and taught me how to parallel park. I thought for a while how sad it is to bring my baby girl into a world in which Gramps no longer exists…but he does exist and he always will. Because how lucky are we all that we have these memories? The luckiest. It’s actually fan friggin’ tasticJ