Some of my fondest childhood memories are of me and my three brothers surrounded by our cousins at our grandparents house. My mom was a single mom- our dad lived in another city, so we didn't see him that often. My grandpa (Papa) was a stand in dad for us, and Grandma was a second mom. I remember when I was in second grade we had a daddy daughter dance, and I was afraid I was going to be left out because my dad wasn't around. My Papa was my date that night. I fondly remember standing on the tops of his feet as he taught me to dance. :) Certain things still remind me of them: pickled bologna because Papa always ate it, and Kool cigarettes because Grandma smoked them.
I grew up, had my own child, and my grandparents health failed. My grandma has gone blind due to diabetes; Papa survived a battle with lung cancer that left him missing one lung. I called Grandma last Christmas and told her I was pregnant. She yelled it though the house! When Brenna died my grandma was in the hospital at the time (in another city) and we were afraid to tell her because we didn't want to give her a heart attack. My mom purposely told her while she was still in the hopital so that medical help was there in case she needed it. We knew it would upset her that much.
My Papa fell last week and broke a few ribs. At the hopital he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. They released him from the hopital yesterday, but he had to go to rehab for a few weeks. This was the first holiday I can remember my grandparents being apart. My husband and I picked Grandma up today and took her to my mom's for dinner. Then we took her to see Papa. She hasn't seen him since he went into the hospital. We wheeled her into his room. I watched them together; and what I saw made my heart happy. No body's perfect, and I think we get so caught up in the day to day crap of living life that we sometimes forget to take a moment to watch and see people. I watched my grandparents. Papa looked so old when he was sleeping. When he woke up and saw grandma there a light came over his face. We were there about an hour and he held her hand the entire time. He held her hand, even when his arm got tired he didn't' let her go. I noticed that Grandma always calls him "Babe". It's not something that I really noticed before, but once I thought about it realized that she always did.
Papa's a gruff guy who doesn't like to show emotion. But the change I saw come over his face today gave him away. He literally looked years younger when he saw his wife. I've never noticed before how much they truly love each other.
This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful that I had the chance (and took the time!) to see that.