Happy Birthday Granddaddy!

Jacob’s granddaddy turned 85 years young a week ago. Jacob was his first grandchild. From experience, I learned that a mom or a dad cannot really know what it’s going to be like to become a grandparent. Holding that grandbaby in your arms, your world changes in ways you never imagined. For the better.

My dad was so pleased and excited to be a granddaddy, and was equally grieved learning Jacob was going to be labeled disabled. The helpless grief that washes over a parent, knowing their own child and grandchild would be faced with life-long challenges.

I think about some of the many things he and Jacob’s granny have done to help us in unexpected ways. A few that stand out are, offering their car when we went to Ochsner Clinic to see a neurologist. Years later, taking the whole family in their RV to the east coast for a communication conference. Another one was that they made sure Jacob had his own bedroom in their country cabin. Those were special to us and gave them great pleasure.

Some other fond memories that come to mind when I think of Jacob and his Granddaddy – .

  • Jacob loves music. And, Granddaddy loves music, but he doesn’t like to sing. Except to Jacob. Isn’t that sweet how that works?!?
  • They both share a LOVE of hot dogs. Cooked on the grill are the best.
  • They are both big fans of Granny’s homemade sour dough bread. Probably tie for the #1 fan spot!
  • Jacob still has and uses the toy box that Granddaddy built when he was little.
  • Granddaddy liked to take the grandchildren riding on his tractor. One of my all-time favorite photos is below. Although you can’t see the tractor, you can see the big smile he had holding his oldest grand on his lap.
  • There was a time Granddaddy had a golf cart and Jacob would go riding with him all around their property and pond. At some point, he upgraded to a fancier one, referred to as the ‘mule’, and sometimes Jacob was up for a spin in it as well.

Such fun things to remember and celebrate.

Unfortunately, celebrating a birthday during the covid-19 pandemic meant we were not going to be together as a family. Though honestly, depending on what everyone has going on, we don’t always get together every birthday.

But, this one was different. As senior adults, they were doing everything they could to stay home and to stay well. They had been isolated for weeks. As much as they’d love company, they (nor we) wanted them to take any chances of being, unknowingly, exposed to the virus.

We decided to surprise him by driving over to wish him Happy Birthday from a distance. We weren’t sure how that would play out for Jacob. We hoped he’d be content to ride over, see his Granny and Granddaddy from a distance, while remaining in the van, and leave for the hour-long return drive home. While Mike and I were visiting with my parents, observing social distance guidelines, Jacob decided to get out of the van. He really wanted to see them better, go in their house, and get all nosy to see what treats he could find (maybe homemade bread or chocolate). Instead, we corralled him back into the van and knew we needed to end our visit. We said our good-byes and waved, while heading out their long winding drive with Jacob twisting to look back.

Jacob’s granddaddy had a good day in spite of the isolation. Each of his grown children made a surprise visit to their home. He saw five of his grandchildren (and their spouses) plus a great granddaughter in the same way. And, got to FaceTime with the others. It was a good birthday leaving both of them with happy smiles and one he’ll remember for a long time. All, without a single hug.

Happy Birthday, again, Granddaddy! Love you so very much! From your favorite, firstborn grandson and his parents.


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