I would like to dedicate this post to my Grandpa, or as I like to call him, he who comes from the land 'o cheese (i.e. Wisconsin). This is the same Grandpa who likes to comment on my blog when I have not written in awhile. Tomorrow is Grandpa's 80th birthday, and I thought the whole world should know.
In March I visited my equally awesome (and 80) Mo' Town Grandpa in Florida. Mo' Town Grandpa is my dad's father. After my parent's divorce when I was two, he and Mo' Town Grandma always made sure to be a part of my life. And for that I love them dearly.
However, when I was 4 I was blessed with a new Grandpa. My mom married Dad-squared and Dad-squared's big family became part of mine. German's like to call my family a "patch-work," and in many ways it is. But it one that is full of love (and just a little bit of craziness). Dad-squared and his entire family took me in and treated me like I was one of their own. They loved me and accepted me, even though they did not have to. Some might have seen my mom's two young kids as "baggage," but they did not.
Because of them, I have developed a different definition of family. Families are defined by love, not blood. We often find our families later in life, and they can be just as special as the ones we are born into.
Grandpa has spent the majority of his life in the land 'o cheese, but he was stationed in Germany just after the war. He understands a bit of German and got on famously with my in-laws at my wedding. Just before the wedding he looked at the German.
Grandpa: I hope that you are not offended if I call you the Kraut.
The German (grinning): Not as long as I can call you John-Boy.
The German and I would love, LOVE for Grandpa to come visit and take him around to his old base in Bad Neuheim. However, he is not that fond of travelling. Frankly, I am not fond of flying either, and I am not 80.
So, on this lovely weekend everyone raise your beer stein and give a toast to Grandpa.
We love you, Grandpa, and we wish you many more happy birthdays to come. Hugs, Claire and the German.