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The hearts, tied together by a single string, still hang from their door with a painted message welcoming me into their house, the house that easily represents my home away from home, a visual reminder of my childhood and proof that grandparents are the most amazing people a child is lucky enough to know. I still feel their presence when I step foot across the threshold of the home they inhabited together. The smell of nostalgia is thick as the dust that has accumulated on the belongings they’ve left behind, a museum of a life they shared with three children of their own that still continues a journey through their children, through me, through our children and one day through their children.

A dining table sits holding memories in place of the plates we ate from every Thanksgiving crammed elbow to elbow, cousin next to uncle next to brother next to niece, we sat and laughed and unintentionally took for granted the time we had together. Now within the walls that watched meal after meal throughout a lifetime hold those same smiles paused between the four edges of frames, pictures of moments frozen, illustrating a time when we were all physically present to pass Grandma’s homemade biscuits and her cucumbers soaked in a pool of vinegar and pepper.

Year after year we shared a space, their space, with the same people we share a last name with… at Easter and birthdays and random occasions in between and when the year threatened anew we gathered ourselves in the living room at the front of their house reserved for Christmas and the decorations and the lit tree that accompanies the celebration. Some sat in chairs, most sat on the floor (my chosen spot as the youngest and, at the time, the smallest member of the family) while they took their places on the cushions of a couch that felt the warmth of very few others and hardly ever on another day than the 25th of December. We exchanged gifts and gratitude and glances full of unspoken feelings that went without saying but now linger like the aftertaste of bitter words one is forced to swallow when all they want is the opportunity to let them out. 

After they passed, numerous questions arose with what to do with their belongings. The dishes and pots and pans she spent so much time with preparing food to fill our bellies on a stove where the behavior of the burners was memorized and the knobs were far more temperamental than accurate. The candy in mason jars and bags left open on a table beside the chair he often occupied in front of a television sharing thoughts of Perry Mason by day and the hopeful guesses of wheel spinning contestants by night. The stool in the den I jumped off with a tattered housecoat tied around my neck like the cape of Batman before my age became double digits. The endless collections of two people who built a life in the same home where they built a family and extended an open invitation for us all to enter whenever we wanted, they were the backbone of a familial body with far more limbs than they could have predicted yet they formed a relationship with every single one of us. 

They tied our hearts together by the strength of a surname and left us hanging on the door of a home full of love they left behind. Those hearts, tied together by a single string, that still hang from their door with a painted message welcoming us into their home and into their lives proving that grandparents really are the most amazing people a child is lucky enough to know.

6 comments

  1. Long time reader here, had to share how much this post touched my heart. In my mind, there is no place as special as my Grandparent's home!

    What a gift they've given you in their love.

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    1. Thanks, Mary.

      It's amazing how stepping foot in their home immediately makes me feel like a kid again! I'm with you, there really isn't another place as special as their house.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I do, too. It has been hanging on their door for as long as I can remember.

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  3. I love having so many wonderful memories of my grandparents. I love hear about some of the ones you have of yours. I hope and pray families will keep making time together a priority. Thank you for sharing, Brad. :)

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    1. Thanks, Lauren! I find myself hoping and praying the same thing fairly often.

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