It's hard for me to talk much about other things while my Dad is here. He is never here, you know.
I have to admit that during those few short weeks, when I was looking forward to his arrival, I was mainly thinking about how happy I was for my children, the one's who know him primarily through a computer, but have scattered memories of our summer visit two years ago, and before that mostly from what they see in pictures.
But now sitting together in the morning, taking walks and hearing about his work or his studies, his garden or news of our family, I know that this is a happiness for me too.
Of course it delights me to see how my kids love him, so naturally and freely, if not a tiny bit reluctantly (something that a few walks, visits to the swing, and lots of shared desserts fixed in no time).
I don't watch very many grandpa's in action, but watching this one I am so blessed. Who wouldn't feel blessed with someone who follows behind every meal, washing up dishes before I can say otherwise, or insisting on hiking out to the bus stop with all the kids so I can go for a morning run?
But it's not just the breaks and the help of course. One of the first conversations he had with the boys after arriving was on what it means to "sacrifice." They bring it up now, applying it when they think it might be appropriate (and sometimes when it's not). I listen and watch the way he loves them, the way he loves our family, and it is full of sacrifice.
It is bursting with real love.
It's easy to get sentimental (when you're me) and reflective on here, but I know the road I've traveled to appreciate my Dad the way I do now. It has certainly been bumpy, not always peaceful or lovely.
Watching him with my girl, I can imagine those hands holding mine when I was just her size.
I wasn't easy to understand or know how to handle.
I suppose he wasn't either.
And she certainly seems to be following in our footsteps nicely.
I'm so thankful to have grown older,
thankful that I can watch him hold my daughter's hand and swing her through the air,
let him hold my hand and feel loved.
I'm grateful to have come to that place.
And to enjoy him here.
He is never here, you know.