Thoughtful Thursday: Ancestor

January 21, 2010

Thoughtful ThursdayDH and I each have one living grandparent. We plan to bring the babies to meet my grandmother in a few months, and they’ll meet his grandmother in a few days. We hadn’t planned to see either of them until the spring when the weather is better, but his grandmother’s health is deteriorating, and we want to be sure that we make the trip before it’s too late.

I’m thrilled to be able to introduce her to the babies, despite the circumstances, but it also makes me think of those who never got the chance. In particular, DH’s other grandmother, who died a few years ago and in whose honor Tamale is named.

As I described in a post from a year and a half ago, she would have loved these babies so very much, and they would have been so lucky to know her. If she were still alive, she would no longer be able to bake them birthday cakes or knit them sweaters or take them on outings, as she used to do for DH and his siblings. Some things, however, would remain the same. Despite the arthritis and osteoporosis and other diseases of aging, she still would have insisted that Burrito and Tamale eat some fruit when they arrived at her house, and she would have filled their pockets with candy as they left, and in between they would have laughed and smiled and gotten their heads patted and been called a term of endearment in her native language.

I started TTC four years before she died, and Burrito and Tamale were born almost four years after that. Of all the negative ways in which infertility has affected my life, preventing my children from meeting this special woman is probably the one that hurts the most.

On the bright side, they have two other great-grandmothers, two step-great-grandparents, and all of their grandparents. They have many other people to pat their heads, call them exotic nicknames in Old World accents, and fill their pockets with candy. And, legacies of their late great-grandmother’s love still exist. I have a precious box filled with sweaters she knitted for DH and his siblings when they were young, which Burrito and Tamale will wear throughout early childhood. Tamale will carry their shared name all her life. At least for now, Burrito has her hair color. On special occasions, I will cook some of her recipes for them. I will eventually bring them to her homeland. They can look at photos of her as a child, a young woman, a new grandmother, and an old grandmother. They will hear stories from all of us. Many years from now, I will give Tamale her great-grandmother’s ring. They will hear her philosophy that family is more important than anything. Even though she never met them, they will know that she loved them, very very much.

Who did you never get the chance to introduce to your children? Why do you wish they had met?


26 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Ancestor”

  1. Cathi Says:

    Thanks for the tears! :b

    I was just thinking this morning about how much my dad would have loved our babies and how tickled he’d be to be a grandfather in general and to triplets in particular. There’s nothing he loved more than being a dad. It’s not his birthday or the anniversary of his death, but for some reason the thought just popped into my head while I was making breakfast.

  2. Cat Says:

    Shoot! The above comment should have been as Cat – especially for a Thoughtful Thursday!

  3. Beth Says:

    We miss C’s mom every day. She would have loved to meet this little person, and C is kind of convinced that she picked out this baby just for us. Now, whether she chose a cooperative, easily-loved child or a hell-raiser like C, we’ll eventually find out. C is certain she sent us a baby girl who will be heart-breakingly beautiful so that C will have to chase teenaged suitors away with a shotgun. And if we do have a girl, she’ll have C’s mom’s name as her middle.

  4. a Says:

    Sigh. We’re at a tough spot right now, as my husband’s father is ill. I was just thinking last night that I hope he will be around long enough for our daughter to cement her own memories of him. There is no time line, but he has cancer and seems extremely discouraged right now.

    I wish my father could have been around to meet all of his grandchildren. He would have adored them all. But, it’s probably better, in a way – he would have been 85 when my daughter was born. So I wish she could have known him as I did.

  5. Elana Kahn Says:

    This is an easy one. My father passed away before I met my husband, and I would have loved for him to have seen not only his grandchildren, but also his son-in-law. They would have gotten along SO well, I just know it. My husband’s father also passed away before we met, so it really would have been nice if I could have met him and if he would have been able to meet his grandchildren as well.

    There are so many reasons as to why it would have been amazing for my kids to have met my dad. He was just such an awesome guy, and a fantastic father. He was funny, kind, gentle, and incredibly smart. He told jokes every second that he could, and he loved with his whole heart. My kids would have been better people had they gotten to know my dad, but I’m sure they will turn out just fine even though they never will have the opportunity. *sigh*

  6. Carrie Says:

    I would have loved for my children to meet my mother’s mother. She was the most loving people you could ever meet. When you were around her, it didn’t matter how bad your day was, you instantly felt love surrounding you.

    We found out that we were pregnant with our oldest a week after her funeral, and I believe that maybe some how they did meet, or that she hand in making it all happen for us. My daughter’s middle name is my gma’s first name, and a constant reminder of this amazing woman.

  7. Funny you posted this, as my show and tell this week was a photo of my grandparents, both of whom are gone. I only have one grandparent left (my Dad’s mom). She hasn’t yet met my daughter and I’m really hoping we will have the opportunity to do so. My husband has one grandfather left and at Christmas he had the chance to meet his great-granddaughter. I watched him with her and he was so excited to hold her and play with her. It was that moment I wished we could have had with our other grandparents. It was bittersweet.

  8. Michele Says:

    We have only one living grandparent between us, my grandma (my great grandma is also still living). I wish that all of our grandparents were still alive for the kids to have met, but at the same time, I am glad that they also didnt have to survive the heartache of losing great-grandchildren. For Peter’s grandparents, who had already buried grandchildren, I think adding great-grandkids to that would have shattered them.

    They were all so loving and warm; I just think of the things they would have done with our kids or the things they would have shared with them.

  9. jill Says:

    I don’t have any children but there are two people who I would have loved for my “maybe someday” children to meet.

    My dad died when I was 25 completely unexpectadly. He loved children, he was great with babies, and he would have been an absolutely wonderful grandfather. Seeing fathers and grandfathers on TV makes me tear up every time for the relationship-that-will-never-be between my dad and any future children I might have and the future children of my sisters.

    My grandfather died a little more than a year ago and I would have been so very proud to bring a great-grandchild to meet him. I wish with all my might that if I do get to raise a child someday, that the child will be born before my grandmother dies.

  10. loribeth Says:

    When I was pregnant with my daughter, I still had an intact set of grandparents (my mom’s parents). I knew how lucky I was, & it was my fondest desire to bring home a great-grandchild (sadly, not the first — but MINE!) to meet them.

    My grandfather died three months after my daughter was stillborn, in October 1998. He was 86 years old & hadn’t been entirely well, so it wasn’t wholly unexpected, but oh, the timing!! I loved him so much, & I just felt like my world was collapsing all around me. I spent every Christmas of my life with my grandfather; I went from looking forward to bringing home a baby for Christmas to a Christmas with no baby & no Grandpa either. I also wondered whether the stillbirth contributed to his death. He had already told my husband that life after 80 was just “too damned old” & I wondered whether this sad loss sapped his will to live. 😦

    My grandmother died almost a year to the day later.

  11. I don’t have proof that Cappie, my mom’s dad, met Tessa, since he died 3 months before she was born. But based on a conversation I had with him the day before his death, I think they somehow crossed paths.

    Husband’s grandmother Maggie would also have loved her twin spitfire nature.

    Reed, well, both Cappie and Maggie would have loved him up, as well.

  12. Kristin Says:

    I desperately wish my kids could have met my Grandpa Marty. He was such a kind, funny, wonderful man and I still miss him.

  13. Heather Says:

    My grandmother that passed when I was 4 and my great grandmother that passed a month before my wedding.

  14. Ana Says:

    My aunt–my mom’s older sister–died a year before my wedding. She was like a grandmother to me. She would definitely love this little cranky-pants we just brought home.

  15. Rebecca Says:

    My dad. It hurts me literally every day that infertility took away my chance to make my dad a grandad. He would have been the absolute best.

  16. My husband’s parents. They were grandparents before they died, his dad to one granddaughter, his mom to four, but it would have been so great to add our child to that list – also for my husband, to show them what a proud dad he is and share the love for his child with his parents, like I can still do with mine.

    I would also have loved for my granddad to still be alive and know our child – he was such a wise and gentle man.

  17. Photogrl Says:

    Obviously, as I mentioned in last week’s Thoughtful Thursday…my mother.

    When we first found out about the twins on the way, M. and I both cried a little because we knew how freaking happy & excited she would have been!

    In my grief after she died, I reached out to family and friends, asking for pictures and stories about my Mom. I just couldn’t imagine letting those memories fade away. Miss O. has been told many stories about her, and we have 2 scrapbooks full of memories about her.

  18. coffeegrl Says:

    This one is easy for me. I really wish my daughter had gotten to meet my maternal grandfather. After I was 7 years old, he was my only living grandparent. This means that almost all my grandparent memories are tied up with him. He was funny, fun, loved sweets (wonderful for a sweet-tooth like me!) and very straightforward. He could be a stick in the mud at times too, as older people sometimes are, but I loved him dearly. When I studied abroad in college, he followed my journey on a map he had mounted on his wall. He’d post everything on there: my letters and other bits of memorabilia as well as relevant newspaper articles he found at the time. And he loved to read. I adored him for all these reasons and I still miss him terribly. My daughter is fortunate to have all 4 grandparents right now and we ensure that she spends lots of time with all of them. I truly wish she could have met her grandfather. She has his spirit and I know that he would have loved every moment and aspect of her being.

  19. strongblonde Says:

    B and i have no living grandparents. for the most part i can say that for my side i wish that they would have met my paternal grandfather. he was fun and active and loving. his wife? not so much. my nickname for her was meanest lady in the world. gosh. that sounds so awful, but it was true. i spend most of my childhood being scared of her. when my cousin had a baby she held a cigarette in front of the baby’s face, waved it back and forth, and commented to everyone about how the baby liked the smoke. seriously?

    my mom’s parents died young. i think i was 4 and 6 when they died. not that i’m not sad that my kids didn’t get to meet them….just i didn’t know them very well myself. the only thing i remember about them is that my grandma wore red a lot, wore a wig b/c of the chemo she was on and my grandpa smoked a pipe.

    B’s grandparents? i only met his dad’s father and new wife and his mother’s mother. His paternal grandfather was great. i wish that the kids could have known him. he was fun, very loving, and just a special man. i really liked his wife as well. they were so cute together. his maternal grandmother? i’m sure she was nice in her own way, but to me she just seemed kind of superficial. she never wanted to call anyone by their name. seriously. she would call me her “granddaughter-in-law”. why not april? that’s so much quicker to say, you know?

    anyway…that’s about it for our extended family. oh yeah. i also wish that they would have had an opportunity to meet my dad’s brother. he died when he was hit by a train a few months after we were married. it was a freak accident. but he was jolly and funny and taught me a lot. they would have loved him.


  20. Serendipity Says:

    There are many people I wish D would have the chance to meet but most of all, I wish he had the chance to meet my grandfather who sadly died, long before I had even met my husband let alone started trying for children. He was a very special man and would have so enjoyed being a great grandfather, D would have really benefited from having him in his life.

    I also wish that D (and I) could had met my husbands grandparents, particularly the Polish ones, my husband talks so fondly of the food, culture, language and stories shared when he visited his grandparents and it’s a shame that wasn’t really passed on and now that they’re gone nobody else in the family can remember what it was like before the war, before they emigrated and nobody cooks the food, speaks the language or shares the culture.

  21. Idraena Says:

    Normally I am a lurker, since I don’t have (or want) kids, at least not yet, and so most of these questions don’t apply to me, but this one really made me think.

    I know my parents, my dad especially, wish that I could have met my father’s father, my Taid. My dad is the youngest of 9, which means that my dad had seen how his father acted with his other grandchildren and I know he wanted that for me, too. Every story I’ve heard of Taid was about how much he loved children. He was a chef, and he loved to make food and play with the children, often at the same time. From everything I’ve ever heard, he sounds like an amazing person and I wish I could have met him, too. By contrast I got to meet both my great-grandmother and my great-grandfather on my mother’s side and I was scared stiff of her and disliked him.

    Almost certainly my kids (if/when I have any) will not be able to meet my grandparents on my father’s side, and it makes me wonder who else they will miss out on knowing.

  22. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    Who did you never get the chance to introduce to your children? Why do you wish they had met?

    Both of my maternal grandparents were dead before I was born, but my parents kept them alive in our lives, through the stream of memories. Even though I did not meet my Nana-Nani, I actually feel that they have been almost always there in real with me, as I grew up.

    My paternal grandparents were there with me for a large part of my childhood. The last person to go from that duo was my Dadi who died when I was 17. But I had another old bee (she was too cool), who stayed with us, when we were growing up. She died at the sweet young age of 102.

    The thing is that I will miss not having any of those absolutely super folks around when my kids come around. With my Nana-Nani, whatever I pass to my children would be one generation removed (after all, whatever impression I have developed is purely vicarious learning).

    I would be able to impart first-hand information to my kids, but the physical absence will always pervade.

    I am proud of the blood I carry. Each of these five (Nana-Nani, Dada-Dadi and Aaji) were very strong personalities.

    There is another person (BSM) who I wish I was able to introduce to my kids. He died four years back. He was an absolutely great story-teller. He had many tales to tell, he was an avid reader and he had deep interest in history.

    When he used to describe battles it was as if the audience was watching it happen in front of them. I loved his company. He was also my late Nani’s last surviving brother. His wife died about 20 days back. She sang beautifully, and was a fabulous cook. She was also a very strong mother figure. Together, they were a great team.

    I wish that my kids had met them because they would have understood what strong roots they had evolved from.

  23. Dora Says:

    Been wanting to respond to Thoughtful Thursdays these past weeks, but my delicious, demanding girl likes to be held so much, that it can be hard to type out anything but a very brief comment. And TTs needs more than that.

    My little Squeaker was named for my father, who died when I was 17. I would have loved for him to know this special little girl. I can imagine my little peanut in his big hands. He would have loved her so much.

  24. Well, of course I remain sad that Betty never got to meet my mother to the point that I really can’t write about it extensively.

  25. Sorry, accidentally pushed “Submit” too early, but like I said I haven’t found away to write about how sad you feel about every awesome thing that happens when you have a dead parent. There’s always a bit of, “Man, I wish my mom could have seen this or met him or experienced that.” And of course, a first grandchild is the worse thing on this list. It inspires me to be as healthy as I can, so I won’t miss these milestones in Betty’s life. My aim is not to get a grandchild named after me b/c im dearly departed.

  26. Mel Says:

    The ChickieNob is named after my grandfather and I would have loved for them to have met. He would have found both of them so amusing.

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