Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Smiling, Not Crying

“So, dad,” I was saying on a crackly international call with an annoying delay, “What plans do you have for next fall?”

I was feeling my father (Grandpa D) out before asking him the big question – would he and Grandma D consider moving to Africa for four months. The RVA finance office was going to be short-staffed and since grandpa and grandma had extensive experience in that area - as well as 7 grandchildren living on campus - it seemed like a good fit for them.

But there were so many reasons to say no.  The amount of effort that it takes to get out the door, finding people to tend to things while gone, setting aside obligations at church, the expense, and, of course, leaving behind all the luxuries of first world living.

Yet, they said yes.

Grandpa saying goodbye to us in 2012.
A year and a half earlier it was a tearful parting when our family left for Africa.  Grandpa and Grandma D had driven us to the airport in Chicago towing a U-Haul with our 50 pieces of luggage.  We were moving away.  Far away.  And while we did not know all that the future held, it seemed pretty clear that one thing was for sure – we would be seeing a whole lot less of each other.

Living in Africa has meant seeing less of family and friends and there has been pain in that.  But it has also led to the coming of Grandpa and Grandma D to live with us at RVA and that was an unexpected treat.  Somehow this move to Africa resulted in us getting to see more, not less, of at least one set of grandparents.

Us saying goodbye to grandma and grandpa on Sunday.
But now the bumping into them on campus, walking out to a game and finding them on the sidelines, hanging out Friday nights and eating Sunday lunches together has all come to a close.  Having not lived in the same state together since I left for college, these last few months have been a new and wonderful experience.  Now that the time together has drawn to a close, it seems best to take the advice of Dr. Seuss:

“Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened.”
Grandma and Grandpa on safari with us.

In the Masai Mara.

Babysitting while CrazyMom and I were in town.

Grandpa helping Anna build her pinewood derby car.

Thanksgiving dinner!

Grandma leading the Junior High Choir.

1 comment:

Mr. Dahlman said...

I loved having Grandma and Grandpa D here! PS: I think it is time to update the ages of the chillun! :)