We sat side by side on a beautiful spring day, gazing out over the Nebraska landscape. The dogs sat by our feet begging for attention. I have done this numerous times with my grandpa, chatting about what is happening in our lives. Of all the times I have sat next to him in a lawn chair or across a dinner table, I don’t ever remember asking him about his life in the military. We only chatted for a few minutes about it before my niece and nephew yanked me away to play, but I learned so much about this great man in just a few moments.
I have always had a pretty close relationship with my parents and grandparents. Yet as a kid, I never really thought of them as more than that. They were the people who loved me the most and were my biggest supporters. I’m pretty sure I thought their lives revolved around me and that’s how it had always been. I never really stopped to think about the lives they had before I came along.
As I have established a life of my own, I have become more interested in learning more about my parents, in-laws and grandparents. There are stories they tell that utterly surprise me, and I think to myself, “Holy cow, you are amazing!” Because they are!
In high school and my early college years, I would never have thought of my parents as being my closest friends, but they truly have become just that. I think it began to dawn on me about my mom and dad being more than just “parents” when they began going on adventures together once they had an empty nest. They have gone on cruises, driven their motorcycle to Sturgis, go on dates and double dates, attend concerts and so much more. I admire not only how they have continued to pursue their dreams, but how they are still inseparable after all these years.
They are the people I call when I need advice, when I want to chat about things happening at work or home or just need to hear a friendly voice. I love them for bringing me into this world and helping turn me into who I am today. As I have grown up, the love I have for my parents and grandparents is filled with more respect and appreciation than ever before.
With Brett and I starting to think about starting a family of our own, I look to my grandparents, parents and in-laws as an example. I can only hope my own kids will look at me one day as I look at them: as loving, fantastic people who are revered by younger generations.