Some of you may know from my facebook page that we buried my papaw last week. It was a bittersweet time. Most of my happiest childhood memories involved my grandparents. And it’s tough saying “good-bye” to that. We already lost my mamaw almost 10 years ago. At the same time, his health declined rapidly after my mamaw’s death and we can rest in the knowledge that he is now free from the sorrows and pains of this world.
Neither of my grandparents were educated. I think my mamaw made it through the 8th grade, and I’m not sure about my papaw. They grew up in a time and place where there were things more pressing than education.
They weren’t wealthy people. My papaw worked hard and they had enough, but they weren’t wealthy by any stretch of the imagination.
But my grandparents left a legacy. It wasn’t one of worldly success. In fact, but the world’s standards, my grandparents would have been average, at best.
It’s funny, because we always want to give our children the best things, things that will make them “happy.” Looking back through the years, I cannot remember one single material gift that my grandparents gave me. Don’t misunderstand, they did buy us gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and probably just because. But nothing extravagant. Nothing expensive. Nothing memorable.
Here’s what I do remember:
I remember playing Bible Trivia for hours with my Mamaw, and sliding down an old muddy hill with my cousins, papaw supervising.
I remember riding around the farm on the tractor, and joining in their nightly Bible reading and discussion when I spent the night there. I also remember that my Mamaw would read us stories at bedtime.
I remember Mamaw teaching me how to crochet a granny square (it was the easiest. I didn’t have the patience for much else), and playing our own made-up version of 20 questions while she cleaned up the kitchen.
I remember going to the Old Time Baptist church with them so many Sunday mornings.
I remember playing dress up with my Mamaw’s old party gowns (and wondering where she wore them!)
Looking back now, there are so many things I wish I’d thought to ask them, so many conversations I wish we could have and things I know I could learn from them now.
But in the midst of those regrets, there is a lesson to be learned for right now. As I think on the kind of legacy I’m leaving in this life, and the kind of memories I’m building for my boys.
Many of my best memories as a child involve my Mamaw and Papaw, and they are all center around the same thing: time.
I pray that as I’m raising my children, I can keep this at the forefront and teach them the things I learned from my grandparents. They taught me about Jesus. They taught me about hard work, and simple living. And they taught me about making a person feel valued by giving the gift of time and attention.
In our world of “progress,” I fear that these simple things are being forgotten. But it’s what I want to teach my boys. I want them to learn about Jesus. I want them to learn about living for God and not yourself. I want to teach them about hard work and simple living—that “progress” doesn’t always mean better after all, and that connecting with someone is more than a button to push on facebook.