I’m sure there’s been several moments when my parents have said to themselves as they raised me, “Some day she’ll thank me for that!” Their parents probably had the same experience! So here’s my question: have I thanked them for that? Have I thanked them for teaching me humility? For allowing me to make mistakes but always holding my hand through the process of mending them? For pushing me in school (and paying for it)? Have I thanked them for always answering the phone when I call? For always providing me with new school clothes, a cute childhood bedroom, and yearly tours with my dance team? The list of what I need to thank them for is incredibly long, and as I have grown into adulthood, I have truly been able to acknowledge the love and sacrifices they continue to make for me day by day. But one I have felt so strongly about lately is to thank them for the gift of allowing my grandparents to be part of my life.
That’s not a typical thought you’d have to thank your parents for, right? The last few years though I’ve had the strongest yearning to build a deeper relationship with my 93-year-old grandfather who lives over 800 miles away so I’ve done all I can to do so. I’ve driven 13+ hours with my husband in my little red Ford Focus several times in the last two years to hug him. I’ve sent him a postcard from every vacation we’ve taken. I’ve tried to call him a few times a month to tell him all that’s new here in Utah. But somehow, it still doesn’t feel like enough. I miss my Grandpa every single day. I miss his laugh, his stories, his raspy, old man voice. Then as Aaron drove me to Washington in October for my 25th birthday to spend a few quick days with him, he had they best Christmas gift idea for my mom and dad.
We sat my grandpa down in his big, puffy recliner chair and attached a microphone to his lapel. Aaron set up his GoPro camera (another huge thanks to my parents for his graduation gift — they do SO MUCH for us) and began recording as we asked my grandpa several questions about his life: when he started writing poetry, where he met my grandma, how he earned his purple heart in World War II. All of this we recorded, and made into a video for my mom and dad.
This new year as you approach an anniversary, a birthday, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, or the next Christmas holiday, consider the possibility that the best gift you could give to your parents would be the gift of honor. It may quite possibly be one of the most profound, humbling, and incredible experiences of your life.