Grandpas and coffee shops.

I’m working at a coffee shop this afternoon. The Internet is out at my house, and it’s nice to take a break from the non-stop dog humping.

Side note: My sweet friend Mo asked if Lil’ Frankfurter had a good Hump Day. The answer? Every day is hump day to Lil’ Frank!

So, I’m at a coffee shop, where no one is currently humping anyone else … at least within my line of sight. It’s rather refreshing.

My heart is a little bit broken.

A grandpa came in with his teenage grandson. The grandpa was probably pushing 80; his grandson was maybe 18. They got a cookie and iced coffees, and sat briefly while they shared the cookie.

The grandson gave off a vibe not of embarrassment, but of … hurried resignation.

When you’re 18, you’re in a hurry. And your parents aren’t cool. Your grandparents are even more hopeless. You hang out with them out of obligation. It’s what you do between the important stuff, like soccer practice and chilling with friends.

Friends, I would give my eye teeth to have coffee with my grandpa. I don’t even like coffee. I’d drink it black, scalding hot on this heat-indexed day, to chat with my grandpa.

One thing you don’t realize when you’re 18 is that your grandparents get it. They were 18 once. They knew what it was like to have someplace more important to be. They are smarter than you can even fathom.

If you’re lucky, they act like they don’t see your impatience. They pretend they don’t know you think you’re doing them some huge favor. They love you anyway. And they know that this will pass.

If you’re lucky, you pay attention to what they are trying to tell you, of how they show you what they’ve learned.

I’m embarrassed that I was once the hurried 18-year-old, that I didn’t always pay attention. I’m ashamed at the sense that I wasted even a tiny opportunity.

My brother and I were so blessed to have grandparents who lived just minutes away, kind people who were involved in our lives. Good people who lived well – they loved their family. They were thankful for everything they had. They had fun. They served their community.

I guess we learned all of this not in big, flashy moments, but in the quiet everyday. We laughed at “The Golden Girls” and savored homegrown tomatoes.

And so, when we had moments of being 18, it was OK.

But I still wanted to shake the kid in the coffee shop. Pay attention. Don’t miss this. It won’t always be available, and then you’ll really want it, and your heart will break.

My husband always gives me the heel of the bread, because he knows it’s my favorite. My grandparents used to play cards to see who got the heel – they both loved it. And they loved each other – and us. I hope that I carry that with me.

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  • Reply cookingwithgas July 19, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    grandparents are so important.
    My mother's parents were great at their job.
    My father's not so much.
    His father picked me up once when I was stung by wasp.
    He never said a word, picked me up, carried me in the house, handed me to my mother and said- here.
    Her parents loved us like the sun and moon. I would love another minute with them.

  • Reply Leesa July 20, 2013 at 2:58 am

    The other day, we played a game of three wishes. My daughter's first wish — Mom, I wish your grandparents were still alive so that I could know them.

  • Reply Gary's third pottery blog July 21, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    you said it, I am realizing I am always in a damn hurry, and for what, to get to death? sheesh!

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin July 21, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Well said.

  • Reply Rainbow Motel July 24, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Amen. Kids at 18 think the world belongs to them. They probably can't remember a time when their grandparents weren't old and no longer working at a career or playing a sport. Unlike the way the know their own parents to be, they see grandparents to be like those cicada shells left behind on a tree, after the actual insect has crawled out of it and flown away. There's no telling them that it is different. No showing sepia photos of younger people who bear only a passing resemblance to the slow moving elders with the wrinkles and bad hearing. You can tell them, but they don't get it. Until it's too late. My kingdom for a coffee with each of my grandparents. I don't like coffee either, but I miss being someone's granddaughter.

  • Reply sherilee September 2, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    I grew up steps from one set of grandparents and I fear I resembled that 18 yr old far too often with them. My other set I saw more occasionally–three or four times a year–and they were warmer, cozier (fatter). I have one left–the cozy Grandma, and she's 94. I love every visit with her, because I know it could be the last, and I'm thrilled my 16 yr old relishes seeing her and being a part of her life too. I wish I had been like that at 16.

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