This weekend I took my step-grandfather to see his family 4 hours away. He’s in his 80’s and has Macular Degeneration – a condition causing loss of vision – so he is unable to take himself. A man who has been self-sufficient and worked hard his entire life – who is still physically capable of doing pretty much anything he might want – is now forced to depend on others. Live his life often dictated by the whims of other people. That alone is motivation enough for me to use one of my vacation days in order to get him over there before dark falls, as it makes him nervous to travel at night.
His family consists of his daughter, granddaughter, and three great-grandkids. To say his daughter is the highlight of the entire trip would be a gross understatement. Of course he loves his entire family and looks forward to seeing them, but make no mistake about it, in his world the sun rises and sets over his daughter.
About the time we first enter the town his family lives in, the excitement starts to show. He contains it well up until that point when it becomes too much for him. His eyes light up, he begins talking non-stop about anything and nothing at the same time, his fidgeting that was once easy to overlook becomes comparatively loud and boisterous.
I don’t personally know much about a father’s love. What it feels like, how powerful it is. My father cut me out of his life about 16 years ago but even before that, I don’t recall it being anywhere near the realm of what I witness between my great-grandfather and his daughter.
A man who I never see cry steps away from hugging his daughter hello with tears in his eyes. The entire weekend they are virtually inseparable. He spends time interacting with the grandkids – both adult and child – but it all orbits the daughter.
I’ve questioned him before about these occasional weekend trips. Who are you most excited to see? With tears glistening in his eyes, he replied, ‘My daughter.’
I guess it’s just an odd thing for me to witness. I have no concept of it. It’s strange to me, but a beautiful interaction all the same. That kind of love is not in the cards for me, but for some reason I still love to see it for other people. Like Christmas…despite numerous painful and hurtful experiences, it still remains my favorite holiday. Just for the hope of what it could be.