I was lucky enough to get to know my grandparents. I had three of the most wonderful grandfathers ever. My great-grandfather was with us until I was 19 and I cherish the time I had with him. As kids we would sit in his little cabin at night and laugh until our stomachs hurt. We would mess up his hair and he would poke us with his Lignavita brush that he used to scrub his back with while taking a bath. I remember the name of the brush because grandpa Travis explained that Lignavita is a kind of wood that wouldn’t get water-logged and sink. His cabin at Priest Lake had the most wonderful smell to it and there was a little stool with a bell on it that we would pretend was a horse. When we were with him he made each of us feel special. Those were some of my favorite memories as a child.
Grandpa Travis’s son in law was my Dad’s dad. We called him Granddad and he had the biggest hands ever. He would hook his fingers together so his hands made a seat and he would bend over and hang his long arms down so you could sit on his hands and hold on to his arms like they were the chains of the swing. Because he was so tall and so strong he would give us kids the best ride as he swung us back and forth. He also had his special chair and there was always room on his lap for a kid or two. When you were in his lap you would wait for him to give you “Whiskers.” Whiskers is what we we called it when he would rub his 5 o’clock shadow on the side of our check and neck. We would laugh so hard because it would tickle. I remember wanting him to stop because if felt so funny but yet loving every second up it as I laughed because it was such a special time with him. I can still hear the sound of his voice as he would say, “Let me get in there, you need some whiskers.” In a group of grandkids he made each of us feel like we were the only one there.
My mom’s dad was whom I got my sense of humor from. I was blessed to have him with me into my forties and he was a character. He would introduce himself as “Bob…. Bob with one ‘o’.” He had a line for everything and I use them still. My favorite because it seems to apply to me on a regular basis is: “You can’t be smart and beautiful on the same day”. Let’s just say I find myself having a lot of beautiful days because I can do or say some of the dumbest things ever. I was close to all my grandfathers but my grandpa Bob and I had something very special. At the hospital one night when he was sick I will never forget what he said to the nurse. He said, “you see that girl right there” as he pointed at me. “She is my girl, my special one.” I was overwhelmed with love by him at that moment. I was “HIS GIRL.” That night was when things began to come to an end for my grandfather here on earth and it would be the beginning of his eternal life with God. He would in the months to follow go to meet his maker.
I spent a lot of time with my Grandfather but, that night we really began to talk about life, about morals, and about God. My grandfather let me know he believed in God and he was ready to see him. He never missed a chance to tell me how much he loved me and he told me he trusted me to take care of Grandma. To have someone you love so much trust you and love you with so much love right back is the greatest gift ever. My grandfather was a strong man and he would do anything to protect me. I remember standing behind him in college as he put a landlord in his place that was not doing his job or obeying the law. He stood there and said, “No one messes with my granddaughter like this. From now on you will deal with me.” My grandfather was my hero. He told me that he felt children were a blessing and that they should be loved and cared for. I have the scripture that says children are a gift from God (Psalms 127:3) hanging on my wall because of him.
God is like that. He wants to stand in front of us like my grandfather did for me. He wants to protect us and he wants to be able to look at us and say, that one there is mine! He wants to hold us in his arms and share those special moments like I had with my grandfathers.
If you will let him, God will make you feel so special that it will be like you are the only one there is. He wants you to feel like the Apple of his eye. Psalms 17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings
To feel loved like that gives a person the strength to hang on in the hardest times. Knowing we can run to our father in heaven and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is there waiting to scoop us up into His loving arms is such an amazing feeling. When we are hurting we can hold tight knowing He will step in front of us and say, “ No one treats my child like that, and you will have to go through me.” When we fall down, it is He who will pick us up without judgment, dust us off and put His healing love over our pain.
I miss my grandfathers. Each made me feel special, in a different way. I look forward to seeing them again when it is God’s time for me. Until than I cherish the memories of those three special men and I give thanks that my God, my father in heaven, is there for me always to make me feel so special, so loved, so protected. As life gets hard at times I know that God is saying that one there is mine, she is my special girl. He has got my back always. How he longs to be there for each of us like that. He longs to be there for you if you are willing to let him
Dedicated to LeRoy Arthur “Roy” GRAYHEK (10/20/1922 – 02/11/2014), The loving grandfather of my sister in Christ, Erin Bishop.