My sister’s middle child, my nephew, graduated from high school last week. His prom was two days later. As I was choosing a card to acknowledge this milestone in his life, I couldn’t help but notice all of the “grandson” graduation cards. After all these years, it still catches me off guard. A reminder that Mom and Dad – Mamu and Pabu – are missing out on another important day. More importantly, my nephews and niece are missing out on their grandparents’ love and pride.
They lost four of their five grandparent figures by the time the oldest was twelve. He is now nineteen. They have missed so many milestones in the kids’ lives. Primary school graduations, hockey and ringuette games – both won and lost, first job announcements, drivers’ licences, high school graduations, university applications and acceptances.
Mom loved coming to town for the kids’ events. Whether it be a hockey tournament or the last day of school, she would do her best to be here. Camera around her neck, she was the family photographer. Her fridge was covered with pictures by, of and from her grandchildren. It was the same when my sister and I were young. She was proud of her family.
Dad was a quiet cheerleader who visited when he could. He showed his pride more through the passing on of knowledge. He took the kids for rides on his snow machine and four-wheeler; set up bonfires in the yard when they visited and showed them how to fish. He shared many of these same experiences with my sister and I when we were young.
Little Moments Missed
I can’t help but wonder what both grandparents and grandchildren have missed out over these years, over and above the events. How many little moments together? Time spent together in the kitchen making a mess “cooking” or Mom and her granddaughter knitting together. Dad teaching the boys how to split firewood or use a tool. Fishing with his granddaughter. It is in these everyday moments that memories are made, and knowledge is passed to the next generation. I can’t help but feel that my nephews and niece lost so much love and learning when their grandparents died. Thank goodness for those photos.