For a year or two when I was a boy I lived only thirty minutes from my paternal grandparents. I was intrigued by my grandfather, but the only thing I really remember from our visits to his house were the really neat trinkets from around the world that were in his small china cabinet, and swimming in the pool at his apartment complex with my cousins.
It was almost twenty years until I lived within thirty minutes of my grandparents again. By this time I was married with a family of my own. I would see grandpa at various family get-togethers such as birthday parties, anniversaries, and weddings where we would engage in small talk about life. I enjoyed chatting with him, but our conversations were generally about how pretty my wife was, how big my girls were getting, and how I was doing in my graduate studies.
It took a bit of a crisis for us to go much deeper and discuss more important issues of life. My wife and I had been married for about six years, and for some reason we were going through a season where we just couldn’t seem to get along with one another, and we didn’t seem to like each other very much. My wife was insisting that I was battling some form of depression. I was insisting that it was just my work situation. In a desperate attempt, my wife reached out to my father who lived in another state and asked him to talk to me. He called one night and we spoke on the phone. I was feeling betrayed by my wife, and I was upset that she had let my dad in on our marital spat. At the end of our phone conversation, my dad strongly encouraged me to speak with my grandfather who was local. Before I had a chance to set up a time to meet, my wife, in an act of desperation, reached out to him and initiated our get-together. I was not at all happy.
Grandpa was a very nice and caring man, but he also had a no-nonsense side to him. He had a military background, and I remembered tasting his wrath once or twice during our visits throughout my childhood when we as kids were acting up, not following his instructions, or being lazy. I knew that my grandpa absolutely loved my wife, and the fact that she had contacted him about our situation made me feel like grandpa was going to perceive me as acting immature (which I was), take my wife’s side, and drop the hammer on me.
The day came for me to drive out and have breakfast with grandpa. The entire drive was filled with me preparing for the beat down I was sure to receive. I knew that my wife had already told him her side of things, and I was sure that I was going to get the proverbial belt across my butt.
However, when I arrived at the restaurant, grandpa greeted me with a smile and a hug. After ordering our breakfast and engaging in some small talk, grandpa asked me what was going on. I slowly began to open up to him about our problems. He was very caring and comforting as he listened. I was in shock that he didn’t drop the hammer on me. Rather, he began to ask me questions and give me pastoral advise. He assured me that these problems were normal and not insurmountable. My defenses began to come down and I saw how loving and gentle, yet firm and biblical he was. I realized in that moment how blessed I was to have such a great grandpa. After praying together, we hugged, agreed to get together the following month for breakfast, and parted ways.
My wife and I walked through that difficult season in our marriage and our relationship was strengthened through the process. We have now been married for eleven years and grandpa’s counsel has helped me to approach our problems in a more godly and mature way and has helped guide us through difficulties we have encountered since.
That was the beginning of three years of breakfasts with gramps virtually every month. Our times together became my most anticipated events of the month, and I so cherished our talks. During our times of monthly fellowship I learned a lot about my own wiring. For years I wondered why I thought and acted the way I did. Although a lot like my father, we also had some glaring differences. I couldn’t figure out why we were so different in certain areas. I came to realize that some things do indeed skip a generation. Some of those things that I possessed that were so different from dad were in fact passed on to me from grandpa. I was really able to come to grips with who I was and how I was wired. In addition to learning about myself, I also learned a lot about God, faith, life, and family.
Why am I blogging about this? Well, I have now lived several states away from grandpa for two years, and I miss our breakfasts together. Years ago I thought of writing a book called Breakfast with Gramps. I have been reading the book Tuesdays with Morrie lately, and I have been reminiscing about my special times with grandpa. Although my grandfather is in tremendous health (unlike Morrie), the book has flooded my mind with memories of my breakfasts with gramps. I miss our times together dearly! I pray that the Lord will grant me the opportunity to do breakfast with gramps on a regular basis again in the future. I love my grandpa!