Dear Jackson,

September 23, 2009

Grandparents

Filed under: Birth to 1 year-old — Tags: , , — aJOHNymous @ 4:09 pm

Your great-grandfather (my Mom’s Dad) died today. I’m not really sure how I feel about that. On one hand, I feel bad for my mom; but on the other hand, I’m rather indifferent about the whole thing. You see, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I actually remember sharing the same room as him. For most of my adult life I always felt as though all of my grandparents died when I was very young. To put it simply; most of the time, I forgot he was even alive. It’s sad to admit that–sad only because I was never able to develop a relationship with him.

You know what? Now that I think about it, I’m actually rather upset about this. I’m upset that while he was able to live this long, my dad’s parents both died when I was very young and before I was able to truly appreciate them as grandparents. From what I can remember, my Grandpa (on my Dad’s side) was truly larger than life (literally, the guy was like a giant) and had a great sense of humor. I used to get upset when I’d visit and he’d greet me by referring to me as “John-Girl”. Apparently this was his way of ribbing me. I was just too young to understand it. I remember one incident in particular from when I was very young. I think I must have been about 5 or 6 at the time. I stole the old man’s pocket knife. I don’t know why. I just knew that I really wanted it. So I took it. When my parents found out what I’d done (I was terrible at hiding my crimes), they made me take it back to him and apologize for stealing it. I found out many years later that he gave it back to my parents and told them to give it back to me when I got older.

I have extremely fond memories of my Grandma (my Dad’s Mom) as she was around a few years longer. Oddly enough, most of my memories of my Grandma involve food of some sort. I remember how she used to give me chocolate fudgsicles in the summer months after I came in from playing outside. I remember the chocolate donuts from the deli that would be waiting for me as soon as I woke up in the morning. Most of all, I remember her waffles. Sopping wet with butter and syrup. They were so damned good. That’s what Grandmas are for: they are supposed to feed you unhealthy food when your parents’ backs are turned. It was just our secret. I loved my Grandma and was hard to say goodbye to her.

Unfortunately, my other Grandma (my Mom’s Mom) died when I was only about 4 or 5 so I really only have the vaguest recollections of her. I sometimes feel cheated that I never got a chance to get to know my Mom’s parents, but I suppose that’s just the way of some things. I still hold somewhat bitter feelings toward my Grandfather and the fact that he never really initiated a relationship with me, but at the same time, I have to take a lot of blame for that as well because I never tried to develop one with him either.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you are extremely lucky to have four relatively young grandparents who want nothing more than to love you unconditionally. I hope you’ll be able to have the kind of relationships with them that I could never have with mine. Seeing as how both your Mom and I have no siblings, you are going to be incredibly spoiled by your Grandparents. Just make sure you go out of your way to show your appreciation for them from time to time. A simple hug would suffice. If you can give them that, then they’ll give you the world in return.

You’re not even three months old yet and I already envy you, kid.

September 11, 2009

Am I still human?

Filed under: Life lessons — Tags: , , — aJOHNymous @ 11:17 am

 

I had just left the cafeteria at work and was about to head up the stairs back to my desk on the third floor when it happened. As I stepped onto the first step, the woman in front of me tripped on a step and spilled her drink and some food. It was more of a stumble than anything. She didn’t fall, but there was quite a mess. I proceeded up the steps, and casually moved to my left as I passed her and did my best to pretend as if nothing had just happened. As I continued on I heard someone ask the woman if she was alright and I heard her reply back that she was, in fact, alright. That was the moment where I felt those first few pangs of guilt. I never even turned around.

This incident comes back to haunt me from time to time whenever my mind happens to wander. Why didn’t I do anything? Why didn’t I at least ask the woman if she was alright? Why did I just continue on and pretend as if nothing had happened? I know that she was probably horribly embarrassed, and I’m quite sure I didn’t want to draw further attention to situation, but I could have at least tried to help her. Am I so wrapped up in my own bullshit that I can’t take 5 seconds out of my day in order to be polite and try to help someone out? I don’t think I’m a terrible person, but my reaction to the situation is shameful. What if that had been my wife, my mom, or even you? I would surely want someone to care enough to ask about your well-being if this had happened to you.

Questions without answers. I have too many of those these days.

You might think this a trivial incident—one that has no real significance to my life—but you would be mistaken. It is an incident in which you can read a lot into my character based on my reaction. For this reason, I am ashamed of myself. I think that’s why the incident still occasionally haunts me.

There are lessons we can learn from almost every situation in life—good and bad. Take from this particular situation whatever lesson you can, because I have already done so.

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