Thursday, May 19, 2011

3 Apa's

My Grampa is 90.  He is the kindest man I know. I have never heard an unkind word or negavtive thought come out of him mouth. His health is impeccable. His health history is limited to some college wrestling injuries.  His mind is as sharp as it ever was and he used words like "whipper snapper" and "derelict" in regular conversation.
The only problem with him is that he lives in California.
It didn't seem so far as a kid. Dad's parents always came to visit us. Even with all the miles between us, their presence as grandparents was always among us. As we grew and started our own families the visits became tough.
 Before long it had been 10 years, maybe more, since I had seem my California Grandparents. Then Gramma  passed away late summer 3 years ago.  She was the first grandparent I lost and it hit me. They aren't going to live forever.
I wish I could say that I bought a ticket to the west coast and spent ample time soaking up the knowledge of my Grampa, but its not true. I didn't do anything.  I thought about family a lot. I wished we were all closer, but thats it.  Grampa was the one who bought the ticket and flew to the east coast and came to my little sisters wedding.
He met Adi when she was about 10 months old. He called her "Little Red". My dad was always "Red" to him. 
 And again, we promised to make the trip out west to see him, but then Adi turned 2 and her tickets weren't free anymore.  Then we flew to Africa, and suddenly we had 2 kids who needed plane tickets. There are always excuses, legitimate or not, but Grampa made it out to see us again!  And this time he brought my Uncle too.
Grampa picked me this rose
 I packed the kids up to spend a few hours with these great men.
 I met my Uncle at my wedding.  Sounds crazy huh? My friends couldn't believe it either.  The truth is we met once circa 1982. I was a wee tot, probably not even walking.  Then I got married and Uncle Tom, my dad's oldest brother, decided someone needed to represent the west coast family. So he came to my wedding and after 24 years or so we "met" again, for the first time. It was wonderful and it didn't stop there. A few years later he and his wife came to my older sisters wedding. They couldn't get enough of us!  So by this trip, it feels like we truly are family and its never been any other way.
 I also got the added bonus of hearing about some hilarious family stories I had never heard. Extended family is great that way.
Belay was in heaven!  There is nothing this boy likes more than a good Apa. And he had 3 of them all together. The original Apa (my dad) my grampa (Apa Apa) and my uncle Tom (Apa Tom).
What a lucky boy to have these men in his life.

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