I don’t know about you but I used to have a very peculiar opinion about my family. I used to think that family was just a bunch of people for me to come home to every night and tell them how my day was at the dinner table. Now my family, being a very busy family, that was the case pretty much every day. I’d come home from school then my mom would come home from work with my brother and later on my dad. We didn’t really spend all that much time together except for dinner, if we even ate together. I began to hang out more with my friends instead of my family.
It wasn’t until the end of my junior year in high school that my thinking changed. What sparked that change was the passing of my grandpa. My grandpa and I were “two peas in a pod.” He had taught me many things like how to make eggs or how to put a worm on a hook, but the biggest most significant thing he taught me was his belief that family needs to be a priority. From the way he would get on a horse in Brown County when he couldn’t breathe, or sit through a long boring band/chorus concert, or sit at a soccer field even when the wind took his breath away, or be at my swim meet when he couldn’t even follow me in the pool the night before he was diagnosed with brain cancer, or sit on those hard bleachers during basketball games, or make “Grandpa’s eggs” even when he didn’t feel well, or be so determined to be healthy enough to attend my cousin William’s baptism. His whole life showed me that family is priority. I guess I never really realized it and took advantage of the things he did for me.
My grandpa and I had a conversation one morning while making eggs, shortly before he passed away. We sat and talked and had some laughs and cried a little. The one thing I remember him telling me is that I need to find people in my life that are close to me that I can trust and then I need to make them a priority in my life and the way I do that is by making sacrifices, big and small, for them to show them I care. That is the last conversation I remember ever having with my grandpa and that was also one of the most influential conversations of my life. Through my grandpa I realized that family isn’t just people that I come home to every day and complain about my day to, but they are people that I love, cherish and care about and the way I show that is through the sacrifices I make for them, both big and small.
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