Last Friday we visited a man at an assisted living place. He was one of the sweetest men I have met. As soon as we walked through the door his eyes were on J. I’m actually pretty sure he heard us coming down the hall, because J is pretty loud, and he opened his door before we had a chance to knock.
His daughter was there to visit him and J instantly knew this.was.a GRANDMA! “Let’s play!” he said. At first I was resistant because I wanted him to give his attention to the man we were there to visit. But I should know by now, that these visits always work out awesome, and I have absolutely nothing to do with how great they turn out. Arnold enjoyed watching J. While we watched J play with this man’s daughter, he told me a few things about his life. My favorite treat of visiting. He told me his daughter was 62 and that he had lost another daughter long ago. There were paintings hung up on the walls in his apartment that were absolutely beautiful. I quickly learned that he painted almost all of them, after he retired! He had never painted before retirement. His wife painted some too. Some of the paintings were of his childhood home and school and he painted those from memory! They were extraordinary.
Arnold was a watch maker and one day his wife said she wanted to be one too, so he sent to her to the trade school where he learned and they both were watch makers, and once they retired they became painters and lived long lives. He also preached at different churches for 40 years!! I told him I loved hearing him talk and I was sure he was wise. He coughed and politely told me he wasn’t sure what wise was, but he was sure he wasn’t it.
Halfway through our hour of visiting he leaned over and asked me if I knew how old he was. I wasn’t sure what to say! I knew his daughter was 62 so I guessed he was in his 80s. Nope, 97 years old. 97! And his wife just passed away last year. They were married for 75 years. When I told him my husband and I have been married 11 years, he patted the space on the couch between us and leaned in and said, “oh, you’re just starting out” with a tone of voice that made me think he was thinking back to his first 10 years of marriage. He then said that he and his wife loved being married and they never fought once. I kind of chuckled to myself. Amazing.
When it was time to leave, J gave Arnold and his daughter hugs, high fives, and kisses on the cheek. When J turned to Arnold to give him a kiss, I saw Arnold tear up. It took me a minute to realize what was happening. This is why we go. The impact a 4 year old can make is amazingly huge. And the impact these wise grandparents have on me is huge.
I can’t wait to see what next month holds!