Tomorrow I board a plane from Norfolk, Virginia that will take me to New Hampshire. I haven’t been there since Christmas and every time I return, I get a bit nostalgic. My parents are in Aruba soaking up the sun and beach, so it will just be my brother and I (and the dogs) at the house. The truth is…I am heading to New Hampshire to spend a few days of quality time with my grandparents.
The Lord has blessed me with many years of memories with my grandparents. My Gram taught me how to bake chocolate chip cookies and to play Rummikub. She brought me to the arcades and played Skee Ball with me and then bought me my own personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut afterwards. I remember countless nights where I had “sleepovers” at Gram’s. Grandpa was usually off working in his wood shop on a customer’s cabinets or refurbishing his antique car. However, he was always home for dinner together. We would all sit together and watch a show before bed and he would carry me up to the guest bedroom when I was asleep. I cherish those childhood memories.
Here we are 20 years later and my grandparents have reached that pivotal point in life where they need someone to care for them. I am proud of how hard they have worked and stayed independent and strong. At 88 years old, they go to the gym 3 to 4 days a week, attend social gatherings and church, visit their elderly friends without family, and go out for the Senior Citizens Discount Brunch at Friendly’s every week. It’s hard to reach them on the phone they are so busy! However, that way of life is about to change for them.
One month ago, my grandparents put their home on the market and sold it to the first person that saw it. In this market, that is an incredible story. They are wavering between living with family and entering a nursing home. It’s a decision neither one has wanted to face for some time. Even I have wanted to push off that reality and keep them frozen in time, just the way I remember them. Life keeps moving onward no matter how hard I push on the brakes.
The past two years I’ve been in Virginia have been full of change. Marriage to my husband and entering a new family has been a wonderful blessing. However, the hardest part about my move was the knowledge of how far I was from my grandparents. Even though I know the Lord could take me home tomorrow, it seems more real to think of in the case of my grandparents as they are nearing their 90 year milestone. I’ve felt the pull of home more and more lately and the need to just see them and be with them, maybe for the last time. Some of my family may feel my quick decision to drop everything, hop on a plane and spend close to a week of time investing in my grandparents a bit rash. I don’t think so.
As I get on that plane tomorrow to see my grandparents, I thank God for giving me a husband who supports me and sacrifices so we can afford to send me on this trip. I thank Him for the wonderful memories I hold so dear. I thank Him for the Godly example my grandparents have always been to me, my family, the elderly, and the countless children from their AWANA ministry through the years. I pray that I can be a small blessing to them in this time and that the Lord would speak comfort and truth through me. I pray this trip will not be one of sadness, but one we will cherish together until that day we meet in heaven.