It's strange to me that of my father's five grandchildren, Joshua got to spend the most time with my dad. Josh was six when my father died. Hope was three and Anna was two. My sister's son was a year old and her daughter had not been born yet.
As I approach the third anniversary of my father' death, I've been thinking about what kind of grandfather he was. . . and the experience of grandfathering that he got to have during his life. My dad loved Josh with such a beautiful love. As you can see in the pictures above, my dad really gave himself to trying to connect with Josh despite what a different type of child he is. My father was a very composed, dignified, introverted person. Prior to his interactions with my son, I've never seen him go down a slide in my life. I don't remember him being a big "reader of books" to my sister and me. But I think that my dad knew that Josh was very special and he was willing to stretch his own personality and comfort zones to connect with this non-verbal, sensorily overloaded, non-Korean, non-blood connected kid. Joshua was his first and real grandchild, pure and simple.
During the final year in which my father battled cancer and endured eleven rounds of chemotherapy, one thing that he made sure to do was to create a fund to help take care of Joshua in the future. I was so profoundly touched that my father, who had worked so hard these many years of my life to provide for me, was now providing for my son, who's future was so unknown. My dad expressed, through his "language of love" of provision that he loved Josh and that he loved me.
The other day, Anna asked me, "Mom, did I ever meet Papa?" I showed her some pictures of herself, as a toddler with her grandfather to answer her question. I'm so sad that my girls will not grow up knowing their grandfather. Yet, the memories of my father's love for my son are a great comfort to me.