It’s my grandparents’ 65th Wedding Anniversary today. Sixty – five years! Can you imagine? Last night I received a call from them saying that they opened a bottle of wine saved from their 50th Anniversary party while enjoying a premium home-cooked dinner with the best of company – each other. They have done something right. They have loved well.
Their two sons each celebrated 40 years of marriage this year. Those two marriages have produced eight grandchildren. Of those eight grandchildren four are already married and have given Carl and Iris nine great-grandchildren, with another on the way. This year we will celebrate another marriage as their youngest grandson (my brother) gets married and adds four more great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren to the mix. Additionally, my other grandparents (my mom’s parents) have been married for 54 years! That’s a lot of lovin’ going on!
I can truly say that when I grow up I want to be just like my grandparents. They have been such an example of what love is and they show it best by loving others well. I am grateful that they have lived this love in front of us.
My grandparents are best friends. They have always done things together. If grandpa was leading my dad’s and uncles’ boy scout troops, grandma was packing the lunches and making sure that they all had their sleeping bags. From weekends on the lake, water-skiing to family road trips, to moves across the country, Grandpa and Grandpa have fully shared their life with each other. They volunteer together, they work together, they find games and hobbies that they both enjoy, they are a united team.
Work now play later…my grandpa retired early. Their family has always been their biggest love. We know this because each of us grandchildren is certain that we are their favorite. They were able to spend time with us as we grew up. I have fond memories of grandma working along side of us as she taught us how to do hospital corners when making beds, and as she had us slice the carrots to go with the dinner grandpa was grilling. If we all worked together, then it would be done faster so that we could swim, or play cards, or have another lesson in crocheting. Love others well is teaching them that work is important, playing is important, but most of all time together is important.
Don’t hold back. There are countless times that my grandparents have gone the extra mile to care for others. Thousands and thousands of miles have been traveled at their own expense to share their hard earned recreational time with family members that lived far away. Every year they plot their routes, determining who they are going to go visit, or who most needs their help. Wherever they are, they are fully present, offering their skills, their company and their hearts. They’ve tilled gardens, refinished furniture, towed vehicles, packed up homes, settled estates, changed diapers, bandaged wounds, done countless loads of laundry, babysat dogs, the list goes on and on. I don’t recall ever hearing my grandparents say no if there was any possible that they could help. Their love for others has been selfless.
“It’s just the right thing to do.” I can hear my grandpa’s words in my head. I have heard stories and seen as my grandparents have done what is right, even when it’s hard. They have saved when money was tight, offered sandwiches and water to lonely travelers, spoken up for those that have been wronged, and gone out of their way to help someone broken down on the side of the road. So today, when I work extra hours to do the job right, when I clean up a mess I didn’t make, when I restrain myself from cutting corners, and walk my shopping cart all the way down to the designated area, I know that part of the reason that I’m trustworthy is because I’ll “do the right thing.” That’s why we, and many many others trust my grandparents.
As we grew up they worked hard to make sure that we were treated fairly. They never wanted one to feel less loved than the other. They are always supportive of us, always encouraging us, and probably always worried about us, but they are determined to be there for us. There are times that they don’t understand why we do the things that we do, there are times that they don’t agree, but they don’t withhold their love – that’s unconditional. Not only do they love us unconditionally, but they generously show their support – regardless of how crazy our schemes may seem. I know in their mind that’s simply the right thing to do when you love others well.
Always say, “I love you.” Every time we see each other, every time we part, every conversation ends with “I love you.” There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that we are absolutely loved by our grandparents. There is always a birthday card with a letter, always well thought out Christmas gifts, always room in their home, always a hug, always a “pop” in the fridge, always a ride from the airport, there is always a way that they are declaring their love. They know that life can be unexpectedly cut short, and that our greatest treasures on earth are others so they love others well. And do you know what? I haven’t met anybody that doesn’t love them!
“This is my commandment that you love one another…that your joy may be full.” John 15:12
Happy Anniversary Grandma & Grandpa! Thank you for an amazing heritage.