This weekend it is our privilege to honor our fathers… my mind has been full of thoughts about the wonderful, dedicated men in our lives, and how deeply grateful I am for my husband and my dad; but also the men who have gone before, paving the way for my life today; particularly my Grandfathers.
I have vivid memories of both my Grandpas, all the way back to a very young age. I was the OLDEST granddaughter on my mom’s side, and the OLDEST grandchild on my dads. As long as I could remember, I felt loved and treasured by both of my grandfathers (and my grandma’s too)! My grandpas were so different from one another, and I was keenly aware of those differences even as a little girl. They had different passions, different hobbies and my relationship with each of them was very different, but as my life has progressed and I have become an adult, I can see so clearly how those differences have converged and influenced me in significant ways.
I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandfather. Grandpa Wallin was a successful business man, and ran a large printing press. I LOVED visiting his office and printing facility. All his employees knew my name and made me feel so special. They had a pop machine (a coke machine) at his office, and it was really the only one I had ever seen or knew about, and to me it was MAGICAL! It cost .10$, and pretty much the first thing I would do every time was hit him up for a dime and have him help me get an “orange crush”… my favorite. He knew all my favorites… he had an old “Model T Ford” and it was so easy to convince him to drive us to the ice cream shop! He always ordered for me, because that is what a gentleman would do: “mint chocolate chip” (still my favorite). My grandpa believed in hard work. He was so excited to retire so he could buy a farm and provide opportunities for his grandkids to work. In the summer, I remember working side by side with my grandpa picking potatoes, caring for animals, building or mending fences, plating trees, repairing pipes… you name it. When I was working with him, it didn’t feel like work. Our conversation was usually about gospel principals and he would never miss an opportunity to teach me by sharing his stories and life lessons. I was a sponge! I gathered information by listening as well as observing how he lived his life. Whenever he took me anywhere, he always introduced me to his friends and associates as, “his eldest granddaughter”. I knew that I was important to him, and that I was loved.
My paternal Grandfather was a little harder to get to know when I was little, but I was extremely intrigued by him and his creations! My Grandpa Kasteler was an artist and a creative. My earliest memories of him was ALWAYS with a camera around his neck! He ALWAYS made sure that we got a family photo. He would set it all up, position everyone and have his gear all ready to go! Self timer, tri-pod, flash, extra lenses… I remember him racing that self-timer to his designated spot. Photos and documenting the stories was super important to him. I loved going to their house for family gatherings… he would always put together a “slide show”. He almost exclusively shot with slide film, and he had those little slide viewers, and I would sit for HOURS and look through slide after slide of old family photos! Oh how I loved seeing my dad as a little kid! I didn’t know it then but the guy was a great photographer! Sunday nights, we would all gather in the basement where he had a screen that came down out of the ceiling (I thought that was magical too!) There was a little closet-type room that was behind the family room and back there was a little cramped studio of sorts… that’s where the slide projector would peek through a mini opening in the wall.
The slide shows didn’t really have a theme – they must have just been a collection and assortments of his favorites. I loved every minute of these shows! The laughter, the stories, the cheering and the adventures! I was part of it all, and it was everything to me! My grandpa never sat down! He was always doing something… “rigging” something up. Creating. Looking for something he wanted to show me… The man made his family Christmas cards every year by hand in the most brilliant creative ways! He would carve linoleum blocks to stamp, or create home-made screens to print 4-5 colors… every single card completely different and totally genius. He loved it! As they got older, my Grandma got sick and I had never seen someone love and care for someone with his whole heart like that. And it was SO hard on him. As a newlywed, and a grown grandchild, I watched as he did everything he could for her. Some of my favorite memories of him were actually in the last year or so of his life. My grandma had passed away, and he was living in a care facility, but all the experiences had finally softened and slowed him down enough to where I finally could just have deep conversation with him. He would tell story after story and just chuckle – this great chuckle.
Maybe back then I didn’t know how blessed I was! I didn’t know how these two men were my grandfather’s for a reason. That it was no accident that they were my mentors and my examples. I would have no idea how their tutoring and examples would mold and influence me to become this girl I am today… balancing crazy creative ideas and ambition with hard work, and a desire to share those ideas and lift and serve others along the way. Both men gave all they had, and dedicated all their efforts and endeavors to their families. They magnified their talents and supported their wives and invested in their children and grandchildren in all the ways that they knew how. I couldn’t be more grateful, and I can’t wait until I can thank them, and hug them again.
I am so deeply grateful for my own dad. I’m a daddy’s girl to the core. I’m forever thankful for the sacrifices and guidance that he has given me throughout my life. I hold a deep respect and admiration of my dad.
And of course my children’s father… they have no idea how blessed they are to have such a nurturing and involved dad. He is 1000% invested in us. Someone once told me that the most important thing that a dad could do for his children is to love their mother, and his love is a powerful source of strength in our family all around.
To all of you Fathers, Grandfathers, Uncles, future fathers… happy fathers day. We love and honor you, and appreciate you! THANK YOU for all that you do! Today and everyday… you are loved!
Here are some fun FREE printable cards that will help you make that special guy feel loved on Father’s day! ENJOY!
Download your free Father’s Day card HERE.