Or, things I should’ve said and didn’t
Today I received some not-so-good news: my Grandma is very sick and weak. To write that doesn’t have all the true weight of the situation. Suffice it to say, it’s serious.
So, here I am, in Virginia, trying to head off a tail-spin while my Grandmother is in Michigan, sick. And my only thoughts are: I should’ve shared more of my life with her and now it might be too late.
Grandma: these are for you. I’m sorry I didn’t share sooner…
Kaela is about to graduate college (finally). She’ll have a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Science. She’s worked very hard to achieve this. Heather and I are very proud of her. My Mom and Dad are also proud of her. I know you can be proud of her too.
I don’t know if you’d recognize her right away. I don’t mean she’s different looking. She’s no longer the quiet shy girl you might remember. She’s finally found her voice and her backbone. She’s very strong willed and opinionated. I wonder where she got that from? I’ll tell you what: she came by it honestly that’s for sure.
And she’s a good Big Sister too. I know she doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with her sister, but I know she really loves Alex and tries to help her when she can. She helps with Noah too. She even helps him with his Math homework. Kaela’s quite protective of her family too.
She’s quite an amazing woman now. Sheesh, I can’t believe she’s 23 years old now. To put it in perspective Heather was 21 and I was 24 when Kaela was born.
Alex. What can I say about Alex?
We had some tough times with Alex. It wasn’t anything she did (other than be a typical teenage girl); it was more of what was going on at the time. I’m not going to lie: it was tough and it continues to be tough. However I’m quite proud of the young woman she’s become.
Heather and I struggled to get Alex through high-school but she did graduate. She hasn’t started college yet. We all decided it would probably be a good thing if she took a break from school. So, she went to work. She has a lot of drive and ambition. She’s also headstrong and opinionated. But swears like a Sailor. She’s not afraid to tell it like it is. But when it comes to working she takes after her mother quite a bit. She works for a gas station/convenience/deli chain named Wawa. She started out at the bottom, like everyone else. However, 2 years later, she’s now a Shift Manager. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and do what needs to be done. You can be proud of her, too.
We’re hoping to get Alex in college come this January. I think she’s ready. She doesn’t want to stay at Wawa any longer than necessary. I’m not sure what she’ll study, but she can decide on that later.
She’s out on her own and has been for a while. She’s getting a taste of ‘real life’. But I have to tell you: it’s always good to see her when she visits. And I always feel better when she can go home with some extra food and stuff. I’m sure when Kaela moves out we’ll do the same for her.
Noah is now 13 and sporting that brand-new moustache. He’s now nearly as tall as Heather and weighs in around 100 pounds. For the longest time he was our small guy. Welp, over the summer he had his growth spurt: 6 1/2 in and 27 pounds. The Doctor said he’ll continue to grow after high-school and has a good chance of reaching 6’. He’s happy about that. Of course he needs all new clothes. And eat! I guess I now know what my Mom & Dad went through.
And Noah’s in the 8th grade and goes to the regular classes. He’s definitely Autistic but he’s definitely smart, too smart; like his sisters. And now that he’s 13… oh boy… teenage hormones and autistic traits! Soemtimes it’s not very much fun, other times he’s hilariously clumsy.
Talking about school, Noah is taking German 3 now. In fact, when he started taking German in 6th grade, he was the only 6th grader; he’s the only 8th grader now too. I’m not sure what to think. He takes the class at the high school. And, of course, the high school has the better lunches; the girls did confirm that the Otis Spunkmeyer Cookies were delicious. But, he’s 13, he’s a little more concious of his appearence…
Grandma, she adores you. We all do, but for Heather you’re like a role model. She keeps reminding me that you’re the strongest woman she knows. I know you are (we all know that) but it’s good to hear it too. I’m so happy you got to meet her. She’s a keeper! I’m still madly in love with her. And signs point to her still being able to tolerate me. That’s a plus. It’s kind of neat to think that nearly half of my life has been spent with Heather by my side. We’ve had our ups and downs, good times and bad times. But I can’t imagine life without her.
We’re going through some tough times, health-wise, though. But she’s not letting anything slow her down. Her current challenge is her parents. They’re both experiencing health challenges. They live in West Virgnia but come to Richmond for the serious medical care. So, for a while now, every 3 months or so, for about 2 weeks, we have Heather’s parents here. Let me be frank: it’s difficult. But enough about them.
Heather’s calmed down a little bit over the years. I must be wearing her down. It’s nice to see her take time for herself. It’s not as often as I would like to see it but at least she does. She basically taught herself to crochet and now that’s all she wants to do. She’s already made the girls scarves. I asked for socks. We’ll see.
Words really can’t express what I’m feeling and thinking right now. But I’m filled with emotions ready to burst.
I’ve tried really hard to be a good husband, a good dad, a good son. It’s not easy, hasn’t been easy. But I keep trying because I want everyone to be proud of me. Not ‘everyone’ everyone, of course, but my family. I feel bad for my kids not having the opportunity to spend time with you like I did. And then Life got in the way. I got so busy with what’s going on down here I barely noticed we’ve been in Virginia for 17 years. I guess we all grow up eventually.
What I wouldn’t give to be in your kitchen, right now, eating green beans (fresh from the garden, of course) and boiled potatoes and corn bread (you can keep the garbage - I never really liked it). Heather’s a fantastic cook (and I’ve got the gut to prove it) but I can still taste your green beans.
I’m so sorry I didn’t write or call. I have so much to learn. I have so many questions. But I do know one thing: I love you very much Grandma and I want to thank you for all you’ve shown and taught me.