Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Young Love In Old People

I've talked about my Grandfather on this blog before.  Today he turns 85.  He is my last Grandparent alive, and I am lucky enough to live near him, so that my girls get a chance to know him.  A year and a half ago, he lost my Grandmother, his wife of over 60 years.  Although, she's only been gone two years, it's emotionally been longer than that for him. She developed Alzheimer's several years before her passing, and didn't know him or anyone else for a good portion of that time.  Grandpa has been lonely for a quite a while.  After she passed, he spent most of his days in a chair in the room he lives in at my uncle's house, either sleeping or watching TV.  It seemed like he was just "waiting for his time".  Then something happened.  Something I never thought I'd see.  My 85 year old Grandfather got himself a girlfriend.

Grandpa usually comes to visit us at least once a month.  He likes to see the girls, and he and I chat and catch up for about an hour, before he heads back home.  It was during one of these visits that he told me about this lady who kept saving him seats next to her at church functions.  She saved him a seat after a wedding and at a Christmas celebration.  He told me how she had tracked him down at the Christmas party to make sure he knew that she had a seat saved next to her.

"Um, Grandpa," I said.  "I think she might like you."

"Well.... maybe," he agreed.

"Ask her out then!" I told him.

"Well, I was thinking about it, but she lives in Burbank and it's far to drive..." he said.

"Grandpa!  You drive here to see us!!" I reminded him.  "Why not come here to see her?"

He chuckled and said, "Well, maybe."

"Yes, do it!" I encouraged him.  "Why not?  It would be good for you to have someone to hang out with."

After Christmas, I didn't hear from him for a while.  At the end of last year he had talked about going to visit my parents in Florida in January like he had the year before. They never heard from him.  Then he called me in February one day to see if I was at home.  He was in Burbank, and wanted to stop by.  Apparently, he had taken my advice and for the past month and a half had been driving to Burbank at least twice a week to see Matea.  He wanted to bring her by and introduce her to me and the girls.  Unfortunately, I was in the middle of one of my crazy drive all over Burbank for gymnasticgirlscoutpianobaseball days and wasn't going to be home.  I told him to let me know ahead of time when he'd be in town again, so I could make sure we could meet up.  Otherwise, I told him to bring her to Lana's birthday party the next month.  How was I to know how that disaster of a day would turn out?  Unfortunately, that is what he ended up doing.  

I don't know if any of you remember that story of Lana's awesome birthday party, but it was not a friendly environment for a couple in their 80's.  Between the rain outside and the extreme noise inside, they weren't looking to stay for too long.  Can't say I blamed them.  I did manage to say hi  and meet her for a brief minute.  I was able to grab each of the girls for ten seconds to introduce them and then they were off.  Grandpa and Matea went to the living room, had cake and then excused themselves about twenty minutes later.  I felt bad but there was not much I could do except invite them over again in more calm and quiet circumstances.

So last week Grandpa and his girlfriend stopped by for a visit.  The girls were all here and they had a little more time to show off their cuteness and yes, more of their craziness.  Matea didn't seem to be bothered by the antics of my girls, and I had a chance to talk and get to know her.  Turns out she was born and raised in Burbank.  She also raised her four kids here.  She is a very sweet woman and likes Grandpa A LOT.  They sat on the couch next to each other, holding hands and making googly eyes the entire time they were here.  If they weren't so much older it would have been annoying, but I gotta admit, Geriatric love is adorable.  

They left after about an hour or so.  I gave Grandpa a birthday card with a gift certificate to one of five different restaurants.  He was excited and announced that he had wanted to take her to one of those places.  I was excited he had someone to go with him out to eat again.  He was happier than I've seen him in years.  It sounds cheesy, but there is a certain spark in his eye.  He's found a reason to keep going, and I couldn't be happier.  

After they left, that night at dinner Sonya said to me,

"Hey mom, if Great-Grandpa and Matea get married, will she be my Great-Grandma?"

"Well, yeah sort of.  She'll be your step Great-Grandma," I informed her.  "Is that okay with you if that happens?"

"Oh yeah!" she said, excited at the prospect at another grandparent around.

I am also okay with this idea.  My Grandpa and Matea were both concerned with how their families were going to react to their dating, but as far as I can tell, at least on Grandpa's side, we are all so very happy for him.  He's brought up the subject of getting married to her a couple times to me.  Sure it's only been four months, but as he said "I'm not getting any younger!"  At 85, that is the truth, but whatever time he has left, might as well be spent with someone he likes to be with and not his chair and television.  So I'm hoping that they do make it official because it's great to see that even at 85 love and happiness can be found.  Happy Birthday Grandpa!  Here's to (at least) another ten happy in love years!!


Anonymous said...

Well. That made me cry.


Meg Drew said...

I talked to him today and he told me he feels like a kid again! AND wedding date is set for May 6th!!!