Grandparents can be important...or insignificant. They can be a regular presence...or an occasional memory.
I knew only one grandparent and only vaguely recall seeing a photograph of the others. I know nothing about my father’s parents, because they both died when he was too young to form memories of them. Strangely, I know quite a bit about his grandfather, perhaps more than he did, because of a book about him (Custer’s Lost Officer, by Walt Green).
Because my one grandmother lived with us for as long as I can remember until she died (I had long since left home for private school, college, and military service), I heard stories of her husband: my mother’s father and my grandfather. Some were surely true. I believe that he was a cabinet maker, a higher form of carpentry. The family must have had money, because they lived in a large house in Keene, New Hampshire. I do not recall my grandmother ever mention having been employed. I learned that he would rise early to fish at a secret fishing hole to catch his breakfast. This item was often imparted as I ate corn flakes: the latest trend in American breakfast food and one easier to source than fresh fish.
Why do I relate this? Being a grandfather, I think about my relationship with the child, who spends much time with me. I see him regularly and take care of him. I believe that we have a special bond...until I recall my relationship with my grandmother, who I saw every day.
At some point, children grow up and leave home. Special relationships, built on caring, trust, and shared memories, are diminished by new, stronger ones with peers. Grandparents might or might not be a part of one’s life, but their significance becomes less and less...until they become memories, only occasionally trawled from the cacophony of the past and present.
One should take what one can get and not expect to much, because that would only diminish the enjoyment of something special.