The older I get, the more I notice my relationships with my family members morphing into something different. Maybe others have noticed this with parents and siblings. For example, a trend I see frequently among friends is a change in bitter sibling rivalry in childhood to friendship and mutual respect as siblings in adulthood.
One of the most special relationships I have is with my grandfather. Poppa is going to be 84 this September, and though he’s had some health scares over the years, including spending birthday number 83 at the hospital after suffering a stroke, he’s in pretty good health.
He’s one of my most favourite people. And his stroke and stay in the hospital scared me. And I think it also scared him. Widowed since 2007 after more than 50 years of marriage, my grandfather lived a fairly predictable life. His special social time included his daily breakfast at the Family Restaurant at Carlingwood as well as going to his Church as often as possible.
Around Christmas he decided he wanted to get out more often. One night with me and my husband, he fondly recalled his time at the NAC with Grandma. I offered to take him and so began my monthly “date” with my grandfather.
Poppa and I pick (usually quite randomly) a show to attend each month and arrive early enough to enjoy a drink and conversation together. It’s been fun to develop our own special tradition and every time I pick up Poppa, he now comments on how he’s been “itching for a night out”.
For Mother’s Day, Poppa sent me a nice card, as he usually does for special occasions, but in this case he also commented the fact that I was a “good friend” to him. I appreciated those words for their kindness. But then I pondered them for a minute, and realized they were true. We enjoyed each other’s company. Whether he was my grandfather or not and whether or not there were more than 50 years between us.
It might have taken 30 years but we are more than grandfather and granddaughter. We’re friends. And that’s really special.
Do you have any special friendships with family members?