Today is Grandparent’s Day, which is a lovely day for celebrating all of the grandmothers and grandfathers in your life. I have no living grandparents, but spent the day with my sister and my mom who are both grandparents and we had a wonderful time! I’ve mentioned my grandmother many times on my blog as we were quite close, but I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention my grandfather. He passed away many years before she did, was rather quiet, and we didn’t have a lot of long conversations. But I loved exploring all of the wonders that he had in his tool shed, even though I’m rubbish when it comes to working with tools of any kind, save a pen and paintbrush. When I was very young, he almost seemed like a superhero with his incredible ability to fix literally anything broken that was in sight. Many times, I wish I’d spent more quality time with him, rather than just admiring him from afar. Tried to get to know him better. But then I think, we had the perfect relationship. The kind uncluttered by too many words that shines with love even in those simplest of moments spent together.
One of the things I remember most about my grandfather was that he was often a bit impatient with me. He tried to show and teach me things, but I simply wasn’t wired to be the type of man that he was. And thinking back to those times when he was noticeably flustered by my inability to work with tools or lift heavy objects, I still have very fond memories. Though I was certainly not a rugged farm boy, he never made me feel like a disappointment or like I didn’t belong there. After all of the grumbling, he would just pat me on the back like I’d done something wonderful after all. I would then wander off to play with the goats and enjoy the things that came more naturally to me while feeling amazing. My hero had once again made me feel like everything was just fine and that through all of my failures I had somehow miraculously managed to succeed. It wasn’t breeding some horrid form of false self-confidence, as the grumbles made it clear what I was horrible at doing. Instead, I was just given assurance that it didn’t really matter after all. We can’t be good at everything we attempt, but we should always be rewarded for trying.
These little lessons have served me well as I’ve grown up and transformed from a little boy into a middle-aged man who’s still most definitely a boy at heart. I’m not sure if my grandfather ever knew just how much he actually managed to teach me. I certainly wasn’t a stellar student at the specific lessons he taught, but I hope he knew that he managed to teach me very important things after all. Grandparents are often said to spoil kids and give them more leeway than parents might, and I think this is usually true and exactly what needs to happen in life. A person who loves me like a parent, but doesn’t have to put up with all of my craziness all of the time, is a perfectly wonderful person to have in my life. They were the first ones to see past those little idiosyncrasies that had already driven my parents to the brink of insanity. The first to let me know that being me was not such a bad thing after all. My parents would lovingly except all of that crazy in the end, but their parents always managed to get there first. I have a profound love for my grandparents and hope that wherever they are, they’re all still looking down on me with a sense of pride. And I’m sending them all of my love and thanks as we celebrate this wonderful Grandparent’s Day.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!