Dedicated to my Grandfather. I miss you.
Family, the only group of people that once you lose moments and time with them there’s no getting it back.
I grew up not unlike many other people; in a family. Mom, dad, a brother, and a younger sister. I have uncles, aunts, cousins, who I see from time to time. I had grandparents. I say had because they’ve all passed now.
Having never been able to meet the man my father called dad. I only have stories about him. How he served in the Navy during WWII and worked on classified projects. How my father lost him at a young age at home. My father’s mother, I did get to meet but she passed when I was young. I didn’t get to visit her much because she lived in a different state and we rarely had money to go and visit on a regular basis.
However, I did get to meet my mother’s parents. People I called Gram and Grandpa. Gram helped me learn the piano. Grandpa was a different story. To be honest, I feel like a horrible person to say this, when they where alive I preferred spending time with Gram because she wouldn’t lecture me on my finances and why I was buying so many movies.
To understand more I need to tell you about Grandpa.
Born in the early 1900’s to Scottish immigrants, Grandpa grew up poor and learned the value of a dollar. Most of his time as a child was spent in the Great Depression. A young man who dreamed of becoming a pilot. In one of our last talks, he told me about how pilots from WW 1 would fly from town to town offering flights for a few dollars. When he asked his father for the money he never got it. Never the less, his dreams of flying were never grounded. He persisted.
Soon enough Grandpa found himself in the Army Air Corps, training to become a pilot. His dreams had come true. He became a high ranking officer training pilots and serving during WW 2. He became one of the first Colonels for the Air Force when it was created.
Grandpa became a very smart and wise man. Grouchy for sure. He earned his grouching rights. He had led an incredible life. I pushed off hearing it from him until it was too late.
Because of his life and how he grew up, Grandpa believed you only spent money on what you absolutely need. Very rarely ever spend on wants.
Being a young man thinking I knew it all and had the attitude of “It’s my money and I’ll do what I want with it and you can’t tell me different” I pushed away from him. I didn’t take the opportunity to hear from him and ask questions. I waited too long.
It wasn’t until his last few years on earth that I realized there were so many questions I had. Most of his life and our family. Grandpa died at the age of 97.
I took me realizing that his time here on earth was coming to an end that the advice he had I really need to listen to and follow.
Family time is time well spent no matter what. Not one family is perfect or gets along well. However, it’s time that should never be wasted or pushed to the side. Spend it with family and listen to the advice they have.
To this day I still remember one of the last bits of advice Grandpa gave me.
“If you ever get the chance to learn how to fly, don’t pass it up.”
While this bit of advice was actually about learning how to fly, I think he also meant something else.
One thing Grandpa did was always read and learn about things. He told me that he hated how the only thing failing at 97 was his body and his mind was still there.
Grandpa’s biggest lesson to me wasn’t how to spend money but to follow my dreams and never pass up an opportunity to do something you love.
My lesson for you, don’t pass up time with family. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. I will always have regret in not taking time in talking with Grandpa more.
God Bless and Positive Vibes.
Born with a genetic disorder, Niall knows what it is like to be knocked down. He has been there several times and he has been able to get back up because of faith and a small number of friends. Seeing others getting knocked down, Niall offers a hand whether he has just fallen or is on the way back up himself. Volunteering as a summer camp counselor for children, teens, and young adults with the same disorder, Niall hopes to inspire them to overcome life’s road blocks. For Niall, writing for Project Wednesday is an opportunity to reach more people, and to help more.