In my own mind my family is its own version of 'rockstarrs'.
We are dysfunction, but not disconnected. We are fierce in loving each other and in protecting our own. And lets face it, we do have good genes - our gene pool leaves us with some charactistricts that we all wear with pride. You don't have to know us to know that we are related, just look at us......any number of us, and it is immediately clear. Its in the eyes.
I am speaking of my mothers side of the family, the Guertin side. I, like my siblings and cousins have been giving alot of thought and energy in trying to figure out how to celebrate our grandfather Jack.
Perhaps, I should back up. I have been lucky enough to know all of my grandparents, and even my great-grandparents. Secondly, I have been lucky enough that my mother/father made it priority for us as children to spend time with them. I was in my teens when my great-grandmother died, and in my late teens or early 20's when my great-grandfather died. They are real and tangible to me. I have found memories of them and a great affection for their commitment and luv for each other and their family. Which included my mother....
My great grandparents come to Ellis Island on the boat, one full Irish, and one full Italian. Hello -feisty, and dynamic; just based on genetics. My great grandparents were a great source of comfort and support for my mother, and for us they represented a great source of love and commitment. We did travel to NY to see them and celebrate them and create memories for us that continue resonate with me today. I am lucky to have gotten the chance to know them.
Growing up my grandparents played such an important role in my life. Back then they seemed so much bigger and larger than life to me. They were jet-setters, with their lake house, plane, boat, and even a photo w/ my grandmother attending dinner w/ President Regan. For a small town girl that sort of stuff made my eyes glitter. Growing up w did not travel out west or to the beach or to Disney for vacation, we went to visit family out east. And out east they welcomed us, all 3 rowdy kids with open arms. My grandparents took us to the capital, to the Smithsonian, to my first live play (which to the day I luv), taught us to ride the subway, train, took us Georgetown and made sure we were always learning something.
In thinking about where I am today and my personality, I have to say I am alot like him (grandpa Jack). Stubborn, dynamic, a bit twitchy, and fierce when I have to be. I luv to have a good time. I have seen him party like a rock starr and his smile charm the pants off complete strangers. He would constantly lick his finger tips. Which sounds strange, but is was barley noticeable. I twirl my hair or pace. Seems to be necessary in order to process the constantly moving thoughts and to help process. He seemed to be constantly reach for something more, constantly trying to re-invent or learn something new. Yeah, I get that, and luv that about him and how I carry that attribute in myself today. My grandfather was athletic the poster child of getting off your ass and finding something fun to do. He taught me to skii, and to this day I luv it. We would zip around the lake in his boat and he would barefoot skii, and teach each of us to trust him and get it done.
As I begin to teach my son to skii, which we worked on this summer. I realized how hard that process really is. As my son got up for his first time I felt a tear slip down my cheek. You could feel that source of confidence hit my son in an instant. He is learning to be unstoppable. Even after all of the trials and water up the nose, the moment you get up on the skii and feel that sense of accomplishment that cannot be taken away. My grandparents taught me so much about being confident. You can see it in my mom, now in me and my sister.
As I got older my grandfather and I had what I would call a personality conflict. Basically I was a smarty pants and much like him wanted to always be right. One night we were playing trivial pursuit, and we were arguing, he threatened to throw me over the rail at the lake house. Gosh, he was worked up and in hind site I was too. ha! I vividly remember my grandmother Pat sitting back and laughing. She could see it, me acting just like him. *see me glow with pride*
My grandfather Jack has 13 grandchildren, I am the oldest female grandchild. As a collective unit of grandchildren we all have fond memories of him and can share stories of how he has touched us and how we have grown because of him in our life. We as a collective unit have decided that we MUST find a way to show him how much he has touch us and contribute to us as adults.
7 year ago, while riding his motorcycle my grandfather fell off a cliff and is now paraplegic. For 7 years has not been mobile from the neck down. Can you imagine living life like a rockstarr and then suddenly being thrown into circumstances where you cannot even wipe your own ass. My grandmother was on the bike with him and has sustained life long injuries as well.
He continues to shine like a rockstarr in my eyes, he continues to be a source of straight and comfort. And once again, we as a collective we feel like we must let him know how much he contributed us. This could be the year we lose him, he has lost both of his brothers with in the last 6 mths and he has been in and out of the hospital. Our hearts are saddened and heavy.
We will rally together and see him this year, and celebrate with him as his grandchildren. It is the least we could do, given all he has given to each of us.