I pull into the driveway of Windridge horse farm in tiny Sunman, Indiana. I see my grandma carrying two buckets of horse feed, much more than a woman her size should be able to carry. When she hears my car pull in, she smiles, quickly sets down the buckets and runs to greet me. My grandpa is sitting in his chair in the living room watching the Masters on television and a suspenseful mystery novel in his hand. Through the front window, he sees me coming, and he beats me to the door. He has that smile on his face, that smile he gets when he sees one of his grandchildren. We hug, and we pinch each other’s arms affectionately as we always do to say hello. This is the typical greeting every time I arrive at Windridge Farm. I believe in the bond and love between grandparents and their grandchildren.
Unfortunately, I was never able to know my father’s parents; my mother was not even lucky enough to meet them before they passed away. The grandparents that I am fortunate enough to know and love, my mother’s parents, were high school sweethearts and were married at ages 16 and 18. My grandparents are among my favorite people in the entire world. Until moving to college, I saw my grandparents at least once a week. I still see them almost every weekend, and they often make the two hour trip to Lexington to see me. My grandparents are fantastic people, and I can’t think of many memories that don’t include them.
My grandmother, Betty June Tolle, is 65 years old, 5’3” and getting shorter every day. She can never stop cleaning, no matter where she is: no one can lose sight of their drink because as soon as it is set down, my grandma picks it up and throws it away. Whenever my brother or I were ever sick, my grandma came to stay with us while my parents went to work. The second she would walk in our front door, she would start cleaning the entire house. My mom has always had to yell at her mother to stop cleaning and doing laundry.
My grandfather, William David Tolle, is a six-foot, golf-obsessed, ex-fire fighter. He is one of the strongest, most determined people I have ever known. Having been a fire fighter in downtown Cincinnati, he has been through and seen so much in his life, and it has only made him a stronger man and given him a copious amount of thrilling stories to tell his grandchildren. He has been through a double knee surgery and an intense back surgery. My grandpa watched his own father retire and sit in a chair for the rest of his life. Watching this made him stronger and made him risk the surgeries so that he wouldn’t have to do what his father did.
Even living two thousand miles away from them, my grandparents have always been there for me. When I was two and a half years old, my family moved to Clovis, California. My grandma missed us so much that she was angry with my parents for moving us away from her. Every Christmas and summer we came back to Cincinnati and stayed with my grandparents. The first summer we stayed with them, I ran in and out of their basement sliding door a million times and left my hand prints all over the glass. Even though my grandma cannot stand anything dirty, she left my hand prints on her door for a prolonged amount of time, looking at them and crying every time she walked by that door.
I have been to and seen many different places with my grandparents. We have been to zoos, aquariums, national parks, lakes, mountains, and oceans together. When I was younger, my family and my mother’s sister’s family would go to Lake Santee in South Carolina for a week with my grandparents every summer. The ten of us spent all of our time relaxing, swimming, tubing, fishing, and boating. I do not think my grandpa could be any happier than he is when he is sitting on his boat fishing with his four grandchildren.
I know that my grandparents would do anything in the world for their grandchildren. When my cousin left for college, she had a difficult time adjusting, especially since she was already in a fight with her parents. She called my grandparents crying almost every night, and the two of them often dropped whatever they were doing to drive two hours just to have lunch with her. I know that if I ever needed someone, my grandparents would be by my side in a heartbeat.
Since I have been attending school in Lexington, my grandparents have come to visit me countless times. Somehow, they always know when I’m feeling lonely and when I might need a visitor to cheer me up. I always seem to be stuffed, completely relaxed and cheered up, and with full arms when my grandparents are ready to leave. I believe that my grandparents care more about their grandchildren than anything else in the world.
Because of this wonderful bond I have with my grandparents, I would do anything for them as well. I care about them as much as my immediate family and closest friends. When my grandparents are happy, it brings me joy; when my grandparents are sad, it brings tears to my eyes. A few years ago, my great-great-grandmother passed away. I barely knew her, but I cried at her funeral. I cried because of how my great-great-grandma’s death affected my own grandma. Seeing her upset caused me to be upset as well.
I was also there for my grandpa when he had back surgery. My grandpa had extensive problems with the disks in his spine; he had to have two of them removed and one repaired. He was in the hospital an hour away for a week, and I only missed two days of being there with him. One night when I was sitting with my grandpa, he was in unbearable pain. It was getting late, but I didn’t want to leave him alone in the hospital. My mother had to force me to leave. I called my grandpa as soon as I woke up the next morning, and I was back by his side as soon as possible after school.
My grandparents mean the world to me. I don’t know how I could have made it this far in my life without the love and support I receive from them. Even with two thousand miles between us, my grandparents and I managed to have an incredibly strong relationship. Now that we are closer, I could not ask for a better bond between my grandparents and me. I believe in strong bonds between grandparents and grandchildren and cherishing the bonds we have with the ones we love. I believe in loving our grandparents.
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