Thursday, August 30, 2018


While the rest of us have been home enjoying our potty training fun and eating cookies, Matthew and Emma haven't exactly been suffering in Montana. Swimming, boating, fishing, tea parties, plane rides, and lots of playtime with cousins are just some of the highlights of the fun they have been enjoying with the Montana Nistlers. They're not going to want to return home after all their adventures - I certainly wouldn't if I were them!

I feel incredibly blessed and thankful that my children have two sets of wonderful grandparents who strive to give them so much personal time and attention. While growing up, I never had that type of relationship with my own grandparents and it was something I always longed for. I had plenty of friends who would speak excitedly about heading to Grandma's house for Christmas or for a week over the summertime but that was never really a possibility for me nor would I have been entirely comfortable visiting on my own even if it were because my grandparents were largely strangers to me. I certainly admired them and looked forward to seeing them, but other than the initial hugs at the beginning of a visit, us kids just did our own thing while the adults sat in a circle and discussed adult things. Occasionally, one of us would be called over by one one of our grandparents - our Grandpas mainly - where we would be held in a tight "half hug" against our will, half-listening awkwardly to the adult conversation, while glancing over longingly at the other siblings playing freely outside and wishing to be set free. As soon as that arm released even a bit, we could run free back to play!

This is the complete opposite of how my children feel towards their grandparents - they have no qualms with spending an inordinate amount of time with them. They barely miss us! And I love that they feel so secure in their relationship that "Grandma's House" whether it be the one located in Montana or Indiana is a second home to them!

I have been reflecting a bit on my relationship with my grandparents since my Grandma Korson passed away in July. Daniel and I had been scheduled to fly out to visit her for her 92nd birthday party and I had been very much looking forward to it. In the heat wave that hit Riverside, causing the temperatures to skyrocket to above 113 degrees Fahrenheit, Grandma suffered a massive heat stroke, entered a coma, and died over a week later. Daniel and I missed seeing her by a matter of days.

Growing up, I actually feared my Grandmother a bit. She was never unkind to me but I always felt intimidated in her presence. As I have grownup and started my own family, I have come to appreciate her for the remarkable, resilient, intelligent woman  that she was. She raised a very large family and lived through a lot of difficult experiences and still maintained her sharp mind, memory, and dry sense of humor until the very end. During my last phone conversation with her, I expressed how I had a particularly frustrating day with the children and she not only commiserated with me ("Oh how I remember those days!") but also encouraged me to continue doing the very best I can, ending with "And I know you are!" Her last words to me were, "You have a beautiful family and I'm very proud of you. I love you."

Now she is gone - the very last of my grandparents to pass on. The loss of her has hit me much harder than the others because I felt as if I was just starting to become closer to understanding her, to appreciating her, to experiencing a level of comfort with her that I had always desired as a child. I have experienced massive regret that I did not try harder to bond with her sooner through more frequent phone calls or visits because I will never have that chance again. Now I can only pray for her, remember her, and look forward to seeing her again someday in heaven.

I am incredibly grateful that my children will never experience these feelings of regret when it comes to their relationship with their own grandparents. They have an intimacy and level of comfort that will carry through the remaining years they share with them and I hope and pray that they appreciate both sets of grandparents for the wonderful, saintly people that they are! Time is short...but my children have already made memories with their grandparents that will last a lifetime!

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