Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Love the ones you're with

Yesterday was Respect for the Aged Day in Japan. People bring meals to the elderly; everyone has the day off, presumably to celebrate and help the elder citizens of their communities.

It got me thinking about my grandparents. I never knew my maternal grandfather, Al Smith. He died shortly after my parents were married. But his memory loomed large and he was a good friend and advocate for my mother. My paternal grandfather was a big personality – fun, smart, playful and loving. I would give anything to spend one more day on his front porch looking out at the mountains with his arm around me. There are some things that are indelible to the memory – like the feel of shirt fabric on a young arm or the gnarled thumbnail of a man who retired but never quit working.

My message to kids – to ANYONE who has a grandparent on this Earth: Be kind to them. Listen to them. Sit close to them. Rub their feet (if they like that). Give them as many hugs as you can. Tell them that you love them. Write them letters. (Especially thank you notes.) Believe me, you will miss them when they are gone.