Saturday, June 22, 2013

When a Father Figure is all you needed. Thanks Grandpa!

On Fathers Day, I sat patiently in the waiting area of the car wash scrolling through Facebook to pass the time. A lot of status messages were people wishing their dad a Happy Father's Day. A few sad posts from people who had lost their dad and wished they had more time with them. I got really emotional and sad for those friends who were missing someone. No Father's Day has ever effected me the way it did this year. Honestly, every year I just get my grandfather a card and give him call to remind him how important he is to me.

Before I keep going, you may be wondering why I only do something for my grandpa each year. Well I do not have a father, and no I am not a test tube baby...silly people. I am 30 years old and I have never met my father. In fact, I didn't know his name until last year. Oddly enough I don't even remember his name today. I'm sure a few jaws have dropped by now. My grandfather, his name is Ken, well grandpa to me, but you get the idea is the only "dad" I have ever had and will ever need. This brings me back to why I got emotional on Father's Day. After reading everyones messages I realized regardless of whether or not I had a dad I didn't miss out at all. When I was younger I use to hope my dad would want to find me but it was more because I felt rejected and I wanted him to spring up and show me that I was awesome and he made a mistake. I didn't miss having a dad, I wanted validation that I was worth it.

My grandpa is awesome, no seriously, you will agree as you continue to read. So the thing is, he isn't big on emotions. He will partake in the awkward hug but he doesn't really say I love you. Honestly, I don't care about that. My grandpa has shown more love than most peoples dads can in a lifetime. With that being said, on Father's Day I gave him a call and burst out crying. I cried, because for the first time I really needed to express to him that not only is he an awesome grandpa but because of him I never needed a dad. I don't get sad about not having a dad because of him. I'm pretty sure my grandpa knows this deep down but nothing like your 30 year old granddaughter crying like a baby to remind you and make things a little awkward. He thanked me, made sure I was ok and promptly asked if I wanted to talk to grandma now.

Being a father figure to a child that isn't yours is the ultimate volunteer project. I mean, think about it. Father figures don't initially sign up to be a major role model for that child. One way or another that child came into their life and they made the decision to be a father figure and take the place of someone who wasn't doing their job. In so many ways this person deserves the most credit of all. We all know what volunteering means, unpaid! You volunteer to make a difference in the lives of others. What motivates someone to volunteer for this intense life long project? The reasoning might be slightly different for each man. I'd like to think my grandpa did it because he is a very genuine man who loves with his entire heart even if he doesn't say it. It didn't hurt that I was so darn cute with my curly hair.

Alight, I've talked my grandpa up a lot. I know you are all jealous and dying to know why he is so awesome. My grandpa is the epitome of a "rockin" father figure! When I was younger we use to go to the county fair together and watch the horse races. We even went to this really cool horse track and my grandpa let me bet $2 on whatever horse I wanted. I remember thinking that was the coolest thing ever.

Our first concert w attended was Willie Nelson, at the Lorain Country Fair. I was maybe in fifth grade. We climbed onto the track after the concert and waited outside of his tour bus hoping Willie would sign my red bandana. He did! Anyone else hop onto race tracks at the country fair and wait around for superstars to sign autographs with their grandpa? It only got cooler from there. Sixth grade my grandpa and I went to see Aerosmith. It was during the Eat the Rich concert, I remember because my grandpa thought it was hilarious to buy me an Eat the Rich t-shirt with a cow udder. Lets just say that grandma didn't think it was awesome and I never got to wear that t-shirt in sixth grade. Over the years my grandpa and I have gone to many many concert. We have seen Rolling Stones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Ozzy Osbourne...twice, Bush, Tom Petty and so many more!! These memories will last me a lifetime and have helped shape who I am today.

Lets hop back in the time machine and go back even further.When I was a young kid and I use to travel the Midwest to dog sled race with my grandparents. My grandpa was and still is an undercover Eskimo. He loves the winter and being outdoors with his dogs. I grew up on 64 acres with my grandparents. There are dog sled trails on our property to train the dogs and because my grandpa is a man who loves nature and space. It's so cool. At any given time my grandpa would have 20-30 sled dogs in the dog yard. They all had their own little home and loved it. Not many kids get to experience this life. I'm sure glad I got to.

I wish I had more photos with my grandpa. He is a tad camera shy. No Instagram selfies in his day. My grandpa really is the coolest dude though. I always say he looks like one of the guys from ZZ Top. When I think about it he could be one of those guys. I mean not really but I can't say I've ever seen ZZ Top and my grandpa in one room. You can draw your own conclusion on that.

Anyhow, I'm going to make sure my grandpa reads this. I'm sure he will find a lot of grammatical errors because he is the smartest human being I've ever met, but I sure hope he loves it. I also hope he has an even better idea of what a kick ass grandpa and father figure he is. Love you, Gramps!!

Next shout out is for you grandma...watch out ;)!!
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