I know of your love of receiving letters, so on your 81st birthday I thought it’d be fitting to send you something which would be more at home in the 19th & 20th centuries.
As I sit thinking of what to write I am reminded of some of the great times we’ve had. Our week in Italy comes to mind, walks down by the water, as well as our always eventful trips to the dump. Although many of the earlier times you’ll remember more vividly than I do, I’m more than aware that there are almost too many to recount or keep track of. As I reflect back on life as a young child, my earliest memories of visiting “Grandma & Grand-dad’s” are dominated by Grand-dad. It wasn’t until his passing that I believe we really started to develop our own individual relationship.
I remember that the first couple times I visited you on my own after granddad’s death, the experience was much different than to that which I had been accustomed. You and Granddad were as different as you were alike. While he would keep Erika and I occupied with activities such as woodworking, board games, and outdoor activities, your interests were reading, walking, and cooking; things that at a young age is hard for a rambunctious child to understand, let alone enjoy. I was young and it took me a while to understand that visiting my grandparents was now actually visiting you. We had a couple years where I didn’t visit as much and in some ways, we drifted apart. During those years I wasn’t able to come to terms with the fact that you were not Grand-dad and you would not be able to play with me and occupy me in the same way he had.
The second phase of our relationship began when I was in highschool. Initially, it began as a visit in the summer for the Canada day long weekend. It became a time each year that I looked forward to with much anticipation and excitement. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly, it could have been your liberal attitude towards beer or the freedom you allowed my friends and I. I can say with utmost certainty it was the first time I felt as if I was treated like a young adult, fully capable of using my own judgement to make decisions. You did not smother nor did you lecture. I found it to be a very refreshing pace from what I was used to at home.
Since then I believe we have developed a very special relationship, one I don’t believe many other people share with someone almost 60 years their senior. I don’t know of many people who would willingly spend Reading Week with a grandparent let alone 3 of them in 3 consecutive years. Our relationship has turned into something where we speak with each other every couple days, and I look forward to hearing how you are and sharing what has been going on in my life. In recent years some of my most favourite times have been sitting across from you in the front room talking about this, that and the other thing. That having been said, some of my least favourite times in the last few years have been when we’ve selected either a risqué movie to watch or when you decide to use words like dildo or lust during our conversations…it’s just deeply disturbing and slightly awkward. But it’s times like these that really show the strength of our friendship and I don’t hesitate in listing you as one of my best friends.
From the bottom of my heart I want you to know I love you deeply and that there are days just talking to you makes me feel better. I wish you all the best in this your 82nd year and look forward to many many more years of visits and hundreds of phone calls. Happy Birthday, have a great day, and see you soon.