This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is: "When we were wee." The minute Laini suggested it my brain went back to when I was a little girl. I have posted about my grandfather before, and I have also posted a picture of when my grandparents were young. But when Laini suggested that prompt I started thinking about my grandparents and the rest of my family more than I have for a long time.
Until I was six my family lived at a summer camp. My Dad was the director and my Mom was the administrator. I lived in a land where both of my parents were around most of the time. Thanks to the camp I also had dozens of surrogate big brothers and sisters. I had young aunts and uncles who spent lots of time with us and I also had young and active grandparents. I realize now how unusual and creative and special that time was.
When we moved away from the camp we moved to a large farm house in the country. Cold, drafty, leaky, and with a lane that filled in every time a flake of snow fell, 'the farm' has become a legend in our lives. My brother and I never really paid attention to the work that my parents had to do to keep us warm and dry. As children we saw it as a lovely big house with a secret passage closet and a creepy root cellar and a barn big and empty enough to play in. We played in the snow that my Dad had to plow, we explored the fields and watched for deer, and generally enjoyed helping to put buckets under the drips that came through the ceiling in the spring, or eating pancakes Mom cooked over the wood stove when the power went out in the winter.
The other legend that has grown in our family is that of my Grandfather. I often feel sorry for people who have joined our family since he died. We all speak of him with such reverence and so often that I am sure that the new additions will soon grow tired of hearing about him if they haven't already. When he was alive he wasn't perfect. He was a real worrier. But he was also very honest and very loving. He was a man who worked all of his life for Canadian General Electric. I remember waiting for him to come home from work when I was staying with them. He would walk up the drive carrying his lunchbox and gloves and he would stand under the window and wave at us until his gloves flew off and he had to chase them. We would reward him with gales of laughter. Then he would come inside and give us hugs. I remember that he smelled like working and fresh air.
As a family we would spend a few weeks every summer camping at Algonquin Park in Ontario. Happiest when he was canoeing or hiking or camping or walking, Grandpa would be the center we all played around. I remember as a teenager when I would be trying to sleep in (as teenagers do) Grandpa would open up the tent, or lift the side of the canvas trailer and present me with a piece of toast with jam. Not leaving until I'd eaten every bite, he would succeed in getting me up when most other attempts would have failed. He wanted us all around him as much as we wanted to be there. He was a man who loved his family. Full of mischief, he was always the one to give a baby its first taste of ice cream. He would put pennies in a plant for me to find and tell me that the leprechauns left them. He wanted his grandchildren to believe in magic.
I think that that is the reason that he has become our legend. I also think that it is the reason that we continue to be such a close, loving family. No matter what was going on, it was important to him that we be around. Family was the most important thing in his life and he taught us to feel the same way. He made each and every one of us feel like he loved us best. My most precious memory of him (and the one that makes me tear up every single time I think about it) was something that did not happen just once. Every single time I saw my Grandpa he would give me a hug and say, "You're a pretty special girl you know." And right then I believed him.
What I wouldn't give to have one of those hugs again.