I woke up this morning with a message on my phone from my Dad. After telling me about all the fun he had on his fishing trip to Alaska, he got down to the real reason why he called.
"Brett, Grandma is in the hospital," he said of his 92-year-old mother. "It doesn't appear to be life-threatening, but you might want to call her. I know she would like that."
My Grandma has always been very special to me and I to her. I can't imagine not having her in my life even though she lives 1,200 miles away.
After getting the phone number of the hospital from my step-mother, I called my Grandma and we talked for several minutes. Not surprisingly, the call centered around me and my girls. She had no interest talking about her health.
"How are the girls, Bretty?" she said. Grandma is the only person that I would allow to call me "Bretty".
"They probably don't remember me. I loved when you guys would come over and have lunch with me. Be sure you tell them about me and that I love them."
"I do, Grandma. All the time."
She moved out of the Los Angeles area a few years ago and I have only seen her once since at her 90th birthday party. I don't call or write her as much as I should, but she is always not far from my thoughts.
I wrote her a letter on my blog in January and I am posting it again for her. She deserves to hear how much she means to me as much as possible.
It has been almost two years since I saw you and I can't tell you how much I miss you and our visits. I know I should call more often. I can tell you how busy I am teaching and coaching, or I can tell you how much time it takes to try and to do my best raising my little girls...but there really is no excuse. After all, a phone call takes just a few minutes to make.
I guess what I want you to know is how much you mean to me and how much I loved spending time with you and Grandpa. Over the years I have periodically been asked who my heroes are... with no reservation I have answered it has been and always will be you two. I can't imagine a greater pair of role models. You are everything I want to be in life, and everything I want to have in life.
Having been married and divorced twice, I can't tell you how much I envy you two and the relationship you had. I can't imagine being married for 60-plus years like you two were. I am not naive to think it was always easy, which only makes me respect this great accomplishment even more.
But more than just being able to make a marriage work for so long, your greatest accomplishment is in the kids you raised. A registered nurse, an aeronautical engineer, and a President of a bank. All have been incredibly successful in their careers, no doubt because of the pride in their work and desire to do everything to the best of their ability that you and Grandpa instilled in them.
Aside from what they have accomplished professionally, they have all remained close with each other and would do anything for you. What more can a parent ask for than that? You have truly been rewarded for your great work as a parent.
I often look back at the times we spent together. Spending the summer in Chicago and the summers you flew out here to Southern California were truly some of the greatest times of my life. Watching you walk off the plane every time you flew out here was a moment that I looked so forward to and one that I still relive today.
There are times when one of my daughters wants to climb into my lap when I am having a long day or just want a moment to myself. As soon as I start to push her away, I think of you and how you were always there for me to climb into your arms or rest my head in your lap as you ran your fingers through my hair. How can I turn down my daughters after remembering how you never turned me away?
I can't imagine how lonely you have been since Grandpa has passed. Please know that you have a grandson who thinks of you often and tells his children what a wonderful Grandma I have in you.
I promise you this year that I will do a better job of calling you on a regular basis. But even if I don't, I wrote this today because I wanted you to have this with you whenever you may be thinking, "How come my Brett hasn't called me in awhile?" I want you to read it so you can know that there is no one who can admire you more, respect you more, and simply love you more than I do. I also want you to know that I will always be YOUR Brett.
Your loving Grandson,
Grandma and her grandchildren