The most elaborate gift my Grandpa made for me when I was a child was a rocking horse. Sadly, I don't remember receiving it - just playing with it for hours on end in my basement - but my Grandma loved to tell the story of how I saw the rocking horse through the glass door while walking up to my grandparents' house and came sprinting inside, yelling, "That's mine! That's mine!" I might have even thrown my arms around it. During the retelling of it, I would often shrink down in my seat in embarrassment; appalled at my audacity and boldness in claiming such a large gift. My grandma would continue, "It was like you knew that horse was meant for you and you were so insistent that it was yours we just thanked our stars that it really was for you. We don't know what we would have done if it hadn't been yours." And she would chuckle at the memory of it.
I was so painfully shy as a child around my grandparents that it shocked me, and kind of still does, that there are moments (ones my grandparents love to tell me again and again) when I so completely forgot myself enough to be loud and demanding and boisterous - you know, the way I was when just with my siblings. As a result of my shyness, I still wonder how much I missed out on by hiding behind my parents and siblings and how much they missed by my sudden muteness whenever I saw them glance my way. I wonder most though if they ever realized how much I loved them. And how grateful I was for all the little things they did to let one little middle child girl know that she was noticed and loved.
I've written this blog post about fifty times. I'm still at a loss as to how to express my thoughts since Friday, when I found that my grandfather passed away. I miss Grandpa. I miss my childhood. At the same time, looking back on my childhood, everything is a little fuzzy and overwhelmingly confusing. While I don't feel lost, I feel a little unsteady on my feet. It's not that I don't know where to go from here; it's just that I'm not entirely sure how to get there.
And yet, in the midst of all of this, are the memories of the good things, a million little things that I will somehow, someday have to formulate so that my children will know my Grandpa and know how much he is a part of me.