They never have bad breath.
They never have bad breath.
There are days when I don't even recognize Carter. That felt terrible to type. I actually have to blink my eyes for a second and take a step back.
I was crestfallen last weekend when my mom called me with the news that my Grandfather had unexpectedly died. With a broken heart, I drove down to North Carolina for his funeral and had a lot of time to think back on my childhood with him - now with a grown up perspective.
I called him my Grandpa, sometimes "G.P." - his funny nickname, which was later shortened even further to "Geep."
He always had something planned for us to do with him when we came to visit, maybe so his house could get a break from our calamity for a couple hours, or possibly so my mom and Grandma could have some time to talk. But plans, nonetheless.
He took me and my brother crabbing before the sun set during beach vacations. We had a blast trying to be quiet enough to lure crabs in with our raw chicken tied to a string. No matter how many times we went crabbing, I always somehow forgot that as soon as we got back to the beach house, we'd have to actually kill and eat those poor crabs. I avoided that kitchen like the plague and didn't touch those dinners.
Once, my brother and I pretended we had a restaurant, and my grandpa was our (only) unlucky customer. He'd pretend to eat the imaginary soup until he noticed the bug sticker we'd stuck in bottom of the empty dish, and his reaction didn't skip a beat. We had tears rolling down our cheeks and cramps in our sides from laughter as we tried to tell him - despite his protests - that he still had to pay his bill. To this day, I have yet to laugh that hard. I'm going to credit my grandpa as the best actor I've ever seen.
He took us to Charlotte Hornets basketball games, we played horse and free throw basketball for hours in the driveway, he brought us to local parks to play and explain how to do physical obstacles on trails in the woods, and he taught us every variation of poker that (I think) exists. He even took us to the Carolina Opry and the Dixie Stampede.
He was never bored with us; never annoyed by our childish silliness and had a patience to teach that could only have been fueled by love. Through my child eyes, I loved doing all these things and had so much fun with him. Looking back, I realize that I had never even noticed how much happiness he found in being our grandfather, teaching us and watching us grow.
Grandparents love their grandchildren, this is obvious and usually implied, but it's so rare to see a grandfather so eager to play and laugh with his grandchildren. Various factors can prevent these close relationships ... distance, an aversion to children, family squabbles. Strong grandchild/grandparent relationships seem far and few.
I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to have had him. The credit for my most wondrous and adventurous childhood memories belongs to him.
I can hear his voice in my head, fully orchestrated with a wide smile on his face and in his eyes every time I came to visit, "Meggie!" I'm going to keep his voice in my heart forever.