Never taking moments for granted
I’ve never seen my Grandpa as radiant and expression filled as he is when rolling around on the floor with my daughter, Lucy.
It’s not that he isn’t a happy guy. He always gets a chuckle from the things my brother does and heartily laughed when my two cousins would kick the crap out of each other growing up. However, I’d describe his general personality as more stoic and wise sage than the life of the party.
He’s not a grump, but I wouldn’t blame him if he was. He lost most of his eyesight after a bought with shingles and deals with reduced hearing in one ear following an ear infection as a kid.
But that stoic exterior changes when Grandpa sees Lucy – he grabs a blanket, lays on the floor with Lucy and the two play with her toys for hours. Maybe it’s because Grandpa only has grandsons or maybe it’s because Lucy just brings this sort of emotion out of people, but Grandpa has the biggest smile I’ve ever seen him have.
Last week, my family moved from York to Philadelphia.
We loved York. The city gave us so much and leaving wasn’t as easy as I thought it might be when I moved there seven years ago. In the month since my wife accepted the job, we both thought about whether the move was the right decision.
Watching Lucy with my grandfather on Wednesday eased my mind.
Since Lucy’s birth in June, Grandpa has only seen Lucy three times, with the third coming just Wednesday. Even if COVID wasn’t a thing, the distance between York and North Jersey would’ve kept them apart anyway.
Moving to Philadelphia means an impromptu trip like Wednesday’s is a little over an hour, making those little moments watching them on the floor easier to make happen.
I’ve spent the better part of the last year discovering new aspects about myself. I’ve rekindled old loves for photography and Crossfit and developed new ones – like taking Lucy to a grocery store where the cashiers fawn over her as she giggles to herself in the cart.
Above all else, I’ve discovered the importance of my family in my life. I know just how blessed I am to have a strong connection with them, but I didn’t realize how much I needed them. I grew used to spending holidays working as a journalist and trips home being long stay affairs because of the distance.
That’s what made Wednesday so special. I spent the last years missing out on events and little moments because of how far away I’ve been. The raw emotion in that photo isn’t limited to a carefully thought-out weekend. It can happen whenever we need it to.
It’s an event I’m not going to take for granted ever again.