Riding a bike, reading, and writing are all basic life skills that your parents teach you. They also teach you how to function as a human being by showing you how to eat, use the bathroom and act in social situations. Plus Mum and Dad always offer tons of unconditional love and support for you no matter what. For the reasons above and many more, I'm incredibly grateful for my parents and love to celebrate Mother's day and Father's day for this reason. But what about the other relatives who love you unconditionally and teach you so much? When is their day? I think all relatives should be celebrated due to the value and joy they bring to our lives. So with Father's day approaching I advise you to buy a card for Grandad.
My Grandad always used to say he was special as he was 'grand'. My Dad was just a Dad, whereas he was grand as he was a Grandad. It still makes me chuckle thinking about it now. I don't think he was special because of his 'grand' title, but because he taught me many things that my Dad did not. This isn't to discredit my dad here at all, as he covered all of the basics of my life and more, but to highlight the additional learnings that Grandparents provide for you. So here we go, the top five life lessons my Grandad taught me:
1. Love is real
You may be wondering how and why the topic of love ever came up between my Grandad and I, as he passed when I was 18, so I hadn't experienced real romantic love. The truth is I was always curious about his life before he became a Grandad, and he was always eager to tell me all about it (another reason why Grandparents are the best). He told me one story about when he was younger and dating a girl in London. This girl liked him so much she would get the tube to his at seven in the morning just to see him at half past for thirty mins before going to work. I have always thought this is one of the most heartwarming displays of true love I have ever heard of. This story taught me that if someone does truly love you they will do anything to see you, no matter the inconvenience to them; which has always helped me to keep my standards high when considering a romantic partner.
2. Never turn your back on an animal
My Grandad in his later years lived in rural England and kept various animals over the years, but the geese were the most memorable to me. He had four geese in total. I would always help to feed and put them to bed whenever I was over. However, there was a naughty one that you just couldn't turn your back on as he would creep up and bite you. Ever since then I've always been very aware of my surroundings and not just the animals around me, but the people too, which has really helped to keep me safe.
3. Always ask yourself why you are apologising
I can't remember what I had done exactly now, as I must have been seven or so at the time, but I remember very vividly I made my Grandad cross. As you do as a kid when an adult gets mad at you, you go and cry somewhere. I remember my Mum came to see me tell me to apologise. I remember her taking a while to convince me and it took a lot to get up the confidence to go and see my Grandad again. I was shaking when I approached him and said I was sorry. Instead of saying 'it's okay', as was my experience with apologising at this point, he asked 'what for?'. This totally threw my little eight-year-old brain and I went crying back to my Mum. I thought he was mean at the time, but he was teaching me a crucial life lesson to only apologise if you mean it and to know what you are apologising for. People apologise all the time as adults, but it is normally to save face. However, still to this day I will only apologise if I can answer the question 'what for', otherwise it is a pointless apology as it lacks sincerity.
4. Every day is a gift to be grateful for
My Grandad was just a very light and happy human being. He had some pet geese and for the most part, just moved about his house all day. I also wondered what kept him so happy. Most nights he would sit at the computer and repeatedly play spider solitaire; which if you aren't familiar is an old heavily repetitive Windows game. I always wondered why he kept playing that game and what kept him so happy. One day I asked him what it was and he told me that every day is a gift to be grateful for so he is always grateful for waking up and playing spider solitaire. This thought left my teenage brain at the time instantly as I was just thinking, whatever makes him happy. However, now with hindsight, I honestly believe he had cracked life, by just being happy every day simply because he got to live it.
I'm sure when you think of your Grandad you have lots of similar memories and life lessons come flooding back to you. It truly is exceptional what Grandparents teach us when you think about it and the handprint that they leave on our hearts. Therefore, I suggest dear reader that this Father's day buy two cards, one for Dad and one for Grandad. If I could I would, as you never know how incredible someone is until they are gone.