Bloom where you’re planted

I wish I knew more of their story. Over the years, I’ve picked up on bits and pieces, but truthfully what happened when my husband’s grandparents were young isn’t the story I have to tell.
These beautiful people have been married for 66 years, and their joined hearts have inspired our marriage like no one else.
From the first story I was told about them, I heard about love. From the first introduction I witnessed love.

These are people who have raise four beautiful children into huge-hearted adults. These are people who have loved grandchildren and great-grandchildren and are even loving great-greats!

I’ll never forget being a brand-new clueless bride poring through my Better Homes and Garden cookbook desperately to find a recipe worthy to bring to my new husband’s grandparents farm to a family get-together not even a month after our wedding.You see, Grandma holds the title for best cook ever, and when she complimented my silly Waldorf salad in my brand new green bowl that I got as a wedding gift, she made me feel noticed and accepted in one sentence.

At some point in those first few years she brought me upstairs to her attic room to see the photo albums she had made for each of her many grandchildren including the beautiful one she had made that chronicled my husband’s life from infanthood to every single soccer and basketball article and picture of him that existed. And she had even included me and information she had clipped from newspapers about me and my family.

And though these huge family functions overwhelmed and frightened me a little since I had literally never been to one, I was drawn like a magnet to the concept of family. And, in retrospect, this is where I learned that it was possible. It was possible to pour out love and that love would draw a family together.

I do not have words to describe what it meant to me some years later to receive a birthday card addressed to “Granddaughter” in Grandma’s beautiful penmanship the year after I lost the last grandparent from my side of the family.
I remember weeping at the mailbox.

There are a million sweet and funny stories that my husband tells from poison oak, to pancakes and apple pie to bb guns, smelt-dipping and four-wheelers. All precious memories from his childhood at his grandparents’ farm.

Memories that I can’t relate with. Memories that leave me conflicted between jealousy and just plain gratefulness that little Christian knew this kind of unconditional love.

There was a day not too many years back when we saw Grandma shopping with her daughter at the mall. We happily stopped to get a hug and catch up and along came Grandpa. Grandma explained with a smile that Grandpa couldn’t stand to be away from her for too long so he had to find them and tag along.

These two. They’re like teenagers. She still giggles. He still gives sweet kisses. There is never a question in my mind that there has never been and could never be another–for either. A precious, priceless example of two hearts joined as one.

We were honored beyond words to have Grandpa pray for the meal at Addie’s wedding in September. With much emotion he poignantly expressed his love for his family and his God, and prayed blessings over this new love.
So what inspired this tribute to these beautiful two that literally painted a picture of love to this girl who so needed the illustration?

We all have moments of panic as we age don’t we? Please be honest, ladies. It’s a cutthroat world out there (pun intended) and most gals threw the rulebook out. I’m pretty irritated at all these aging females cheating their way to elderly. Truthfully, most are laugh-worthy with their surgical Cheshire-cat grins. Because with all of the suctioning and tucking and altering that money is buying, the playing field is no longer even.
And, if we’re still being honest, a full length mirror can make even the most loved girl (who is well past spring chicken) feel, well, like one fat hen.

But, I had an epiphany of sorts thanks to Grandpa and Grandma. We had the distinct privilege of having lunch with the lovebirds a few weeks ago, and the way he looks at her…
It dawned on me that it’s more than possible. As far as I know, Grandma hasn’t resorted to plastic surgery of any kind. But there is no greater beauty that I have ever seen or experienced than the warmth of her love and her smile.
She has spent her years serving and loving everyone whom she has known. And this girl who desperately needed to know a grandma’s love and witness ageless marital love is eternally grateful.

She is my picture of beauty. The kind that lasts.

And Grandpa. Everyone who knows him loves him. He didn’t need to preach to stadiums full of people in order to impact the world. He simply lived his life as a servant of his God and in service to his country and family. And he poured love into his marriage.
And that example has impacted and will continue to–exponentially.

All I want is to be loved like that. And hitched to a guy who is much like his grandpa, my odds are looking pretty good!
I told him today how much he reminded me of his Grandpa and it brought him to tears. He was moved deeply.
See, to my husband, preaching to stadiums could never touch the opportunity to love the ones God has given him. He considers it his highest calling. It is an honor that he does not take lightly.
And we are beyond grateful for a couple to represent what that looks like.
We thank you and love you deeply, Grandpa and Grandma.

Ollie and Dollie 2012

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