Monday, May 18, 2009
In keeping with this blog's apparent "I see dead people" theme, today is my grandfather's birthday. He was a very big part of my development as a person, and I was by his side when he took his last breath in 1997, so I can't let this day go by without a few words on his behalf.
My grandfather was a brilliant man who was passionate about his work and famous in his field. I spent much of my early life seeking his approval and usually failing—I mean heck, it's hard to compete with a member of the National Academy of Sciences when you're 9 and your biggest accomplishment is being able to fry an egg without setting off the smoke alarm.
Just by existing, he set the bar higher than any reasonable human could jump, but I kept trying. He had a brain that wouldn't stop, and he approached everything with a steady, methodical eye that sometimes drove me (the impetuous pre-teen) nuts.
In that regard I feel extremely lucky that he lived long enough to see me become an adult and start to find my way in the world. We were able to connect on a much more genuine and enduring level then.
I know he was proud of me, though I have no idea what he would've made of this whole knitting business. (I think he would've snorted, but the fact that I wrote two books would've redeemed me.)
Still, I take great pleasure in knowing that I helped give something back to him in his later years, that he had a better sense of who I was as a person (and I him), and that he left this world knowing that I would be ok.
Happy birthday, grandpa.