Then I looked up at Gabriel, and was stunned to see tears in his eyes. "What's going on, Hugabug?" I asked him softly, using his babyhood nickname, and I reached my hand out to him. Gabriel choked out, "He'd have liked me...." and he started to cry. I hugged him right away and told him that absolutely, Grandpa Jim loved him.
I couldn't believe it -- my uber-tough cookie, my super-hard case ?! This kid surprises me all the time. He has all the same feelings we all do, they're just accessed differently and show up more unexpectedly.
I think more than anything, he was reacting to seeing me cry, and was rattled by it -- so I bucked up fast. I assured Gabriel again that Grandpa Jim loved him, and spent the next 10-15 minutes telling them stories about Grandpa Jim, his favorite things to do with kids, and how he reacted to his own grandchildren.
It was a remarkable, touching moment.
The truth is, my father was probably in mid-stage Alzheimer's by the time his oldest grandchildren were old enough to play with, but I talked it up as best I could -- and as only my dad could have done.
I was expecting to blog about the last day of school and our afternoon at a neighborhood pool, but my son being sentimental totally took precedence.
The good news is, I'm writing while my sons are supposed to be cleaning up the kitchen -- I doubt they've gotten far, but I hear sounds of garbage being taken out. Between chores, being advanced to the next grade today, a fun afternoon playing in water, and seeing a rare soft side of my oldest son, I think I did OK today!
A few Last Day Of School photos.
They weren't cooperative this morning for me, until Dave got this one -- arguably the best one, except Katrina insisted on wearing her sweater and covering up her "varsity" T-shirt -- but this is the best of the poses, I think!
1st, 3rd and 5th grade -- it is going fast!