I have no memories of either of my grandfathers. My grandmothers are both still around (and kickin'!), but both of my grandfathers died before I ever had a chance to get to know them. And today, on Father's Day, I was ruminating about this a bit. My parents were both posting pictures of their fathers on Facebook - of men who I hear stories about, but never knew - who had a strong impact on their lives, as most fathers do. And I started to dwell on what they would think of me if they were still around. Whenever I get into a mind-rut like this, diggin' a little bit too deep and considering hypotheticals or what-ifs, I know I need to take some time to distract myself and get out of my head.
Now, my father is still very much a part of my life, just for the record. He and my mother are still in Florida, where I grew up, and they're both quite active people. He runs marathons and does volunteer work and is in an improv group (yes, you read that right). He was a colossal part of my growing up in a stable home, with a normal-ish childhood that created a close-knit family who tolerates each other enough juuust enough (kidding, mostly) to go on ridiculously awesome vacations together, including one in the next two weeks to Crater Lake, Oregon. And I believe that if he knew that I was feeling down about the lack of grandfathers in my life, that he would tell me to do something that makes me happy.
His mother (my paternal grandmother) is an artist. She also lives is Florida, doesn't own a computer, and has a raggedy little dog named Teddy. She's a character for sure, but the thing that I love most about her is that she paints regularly - beautiful, incredible paintings that are impressionist and picturesque, of flowers and nature and river scenes and more. Every time we go to visit her house, her back patio is littered (neatly, like an artist would have things strewn about in an elegant sort of way) with paintbrushes, brush cleaners, oils and canvases and other aesthetic things. And, without fail, there's always at least one new painting that's sitting in the corner somewhere, just waiting to be discovered.
I love my dad SO much, and I wish that I would've gotten a chance to better know both of my grandfathers before they passed away. But more than anything, I'm grateful that I also am blessed to have such amazing women in my life, who have been able to create their own stories outside of the men they loved who aren't here anymore. Parents are so inherently important in teaching us the ways of the world, and I think my dad would be (and most likely will be, when he reads this) pleased to know that even though I might not have known his dad, that I still feel a connection with his mom whenever I sit down to paint. Which, just so happens to be today.
Happy Father's Day, y'all! Tell your dad you love him. And tell your mom and your grandparents, too, for good measure.