Mr.4444's dad (whose birthday was this week) was one-of-a-kind. A kid could not ask for a better grandpa. Both our kids loved him, of course, but and he and Kyle shared a special bond, probably because they shared typical "guy" interests like collecting rocks, going fishing, and tinkering in the woodshop. When Kyle carried a "walking stick" around all weekend after finding it in the woods (camping) and cried when it broke, it was Grandpa Bob who took it home and found a way to incorporate it into a new and improved walking stick, hand-made from a larger stick and lacquered to a gloriously-shiny finish. He was the grandpa who "helped" build the Pinewood Derby cars, fed the dog from the dinner table, and made a baby cradle and rocking horse for the first grandchild. He always had several projects going on at once, including a deluxe dollhouse kit in his woodshop waiting to be constructed for Kendall. (I had joked that he would probably finish it in time to give it to her for her wedding gift, but the intention was there.) Bob adored all of his grandkids and had a special place in his heart for each of them.
Six years ago, when Kendall was eight years old and Kyle was eleven, we lost Grandpa Bob to a massive heart attack. It was a shock that pulled the rug out from under all of us and left a hole in our family that is yet to be filled. Four years later, out of the blue one day, Kendall said to me,
"I miss Grandpa."
"Me, too. He was a great grandpa."
She reflected, "I know Kyle thought I didn't miss Grandpa as much as he did when he died, but I did. "
"I know, Honey."
She continued, "Grandpa gave me some sand from Hawaii once, and I put a little bit of glitter in it."
"Is that the sand I saw on your dresser when I painted your room last week?"
She nodded, "And I know I shouldn't have done this, but after Grandpa died, every night before I went to sleep, I took a little pinch of that sand and sprinkled it around my room, so I would feel like Grandpa was with me when I was sleeping."
I got a little choked up. "Grandpa would have loved that, Honey,"
And I know he does.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa Bob. We miss you.