I never really “knew” my dad, an accident took him out of my life many years ago. I was very young and I cannot say that he is part of my own memories but because of my grandma I know him very well.
I know that he didn’t like wearing undershirts or eating carrots. His first love was a Camaro that he purchased with his own money. He saved for years to buy that car, working for the streets and sanitation department in his home town — part-time during the school year and full-time every summer. His favorite color was blue.
I also know that he liked to learn and that he told his teacher on the first day of kindergarten that he waited his “entire life” to go to school. He walked away from God for a few years, like so many young people do, but came back when he married my mom. He loved my mom from the first day they met and for two solid years she was the only thing he talked about at home. I know how he felt. I love my mom too.
I know that he loved me. He told my grandma that the first time I looked into his eyes that he had a feeling he could never put into words, it was “much bigger and deeper than words could describe.”
I know that both of my parents loved Grandma, they named me after her.
Thanks to my grandma I know my dad and that is one of the many reasons why I always remember her on Mother’s Day. She gave me my name and the father I never had.
Grandma has always been there for me even when we moved to another state. I talk to her every Sunday afternoon, and I spent many summers with her while my mom worked. Grandma taught me the love of books and how to dance the Sailor’s Hornpipe; she taught me the names of the planets and how to find the North Star.
One of my vivid memories is looking through her telescope at night and trying to count all of the stars. I wanted to know just how many children Abraham had. Years later she told me that my dad did the same thing. Of course neither one of us could count all of the stars; we would lose track of which stars we had already counted. But we did try very hard and as Grandma always says, “You’ll never know unless you try.”
At Grandma’s house I read The New Yorker magazine and the “cleaner” parts of The Onion. We watched plays on DVDs by writers such as Arthur Miller, Shakespeare, Sam Shepard and Neil Simon and danced polkas around the dining room table. I learned to like escargot and sugar peas. Her tastes are eclectic.
We had daily devotions that never felt like “church.” She believes in asking questions and challenging concepts. She says that we should have faith like a child and every child she has ever known asks questions.
She taught me that it is OK to be mad at God sometimes, “he can take it.”
It is also OK to love God and to never be ashamed of that love even when the other kids, friends and acquaintances, teachers, television shows and movies make us Christians look like “rabid lunatics.”
Sometimes she feels a “profound sadness” when she thinks of my dad; she told me so. But she also tells me that she can see my dad whenever she looks at me and that makes her feel very happy.
This Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day I remember Grandma and the incredible gifts she has given me. Each day I thank God for her.