On Mother’s Day, my grandpa always tells everyone they should wish fathers a Happy Mother’s Day, too, because “If it weren’t for your father, your mother wouldn’t be your mother.” So, it is in that same spirit that I wish a Happy Father’s Day to all fathers and mothers today.
In addition to celebrating Father’s Day this month, my grandpa turns 88. I’ve been reflecting recently over some of the many ways he has influenced my life or otherwise given good advice. I think it’s valuable enough that I’d like to share it with you.
First of all, let me tell you a little about my grandpa. He is a good father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He has worked in his family business, Luken’s Blacksmith, since he was a kid, owning it for a number of years before passing it on to the next generation. He still works there most days of the week, though he may be a little slower than he used to be. I’ve said to him before that I hope I, too, can be as active as he is when I’m 88. His response? “I figure, if I did it yesterday, I can do it today.”
Much of the advice my grandpa has given me centers around dating and marriage. When I was much younger, I remember him telling me that if a boy came to pick me up and didn’t open the car door for me, I should just let him back out of the driveway without me. I should wait for someone who thought enough of me to take the time to get out, walk around the car, and open the door.
I will never forget a conversation with Grandpa about how he never leaves without kissing Grandma good bye. “You never know if you’ll see her again,” he said to me one day, with a softness in his voice. “One day I left without kissing her good bye, and that was the day I broke both of my legs. I didn’t get to see her for a while because she was at home with the kids and couldn’t visit me in the hospital. You just never know. That’s why you make sure you always kiss your wife before you leave for the day.”
But more than that, he backs up all of his advice with his actions. I watch him open doors, help my grandma with jackets, wait until her food comes at the restaurant before eating his own, give her a kiss good-bye when he leaves. And, while his words haven’t been lost on me, I’ve certainly paid attention to the way he lives it out.
I did marry a man who still opens car doors for me. I try to live out my grandpa’s advice—spoken and unspoken. I kiss my husband good-bye when I leave, take him a drink when he’s working in the yard, do one of “his” chores when he’s had a long day.
What my grandpa has taught me, whether he knows it or not, is how to put others first—especially my spouse. His years of telling me how to “find” the right mate have paid off, both in finding a good man and in being a good wife.
Grandpa, you’ll probably never know the full impact of your life on mine, or even how it is passed on to my kids and theirs, but you are one amazing man. Happy Father’s Day and Happy Birthday!
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