When Jackson Met Papa

This is Finn, our almost 3-year-old grandson. This week he was in our “upstairs playroom” and I was reminded of a similar afternoon three years earlier.

Finn’s older brother, Jackson, was in that same playroom goofing with the wooden Noah’s Ark that had been built more than 20 years ago to fit our sizable collection of Beanie Babies.

Jackson was seven. Watching him, I realized it could be a nice moment to connect him with his great-grandfather who had passed two years before he was born.

“Papa made that,” I told Jackson, “That’s my dad.”

Then, looking around the room, I realized we were surrounded by a wooden table, rocking elephant, Matchbox car ramp, step stool, doll house, art easel, and Noah’s Ark all crafted with love by my father years ago for my own kids. Overcome with emotions, I pointed out each of those handmade wooden creations to Jackson.

With sudden determination, Jackson stood up and said, “Let’s go, Chief. I need to meet him!”

I gasped at the idea and the innocence of my grandson’s request and I found myself overwhelmingly grateful for my father’s legacy—one I had not previously fully recognized.

I told my own grandson, “Well, Jackson, Papa’s in heaven, and one day you will meet him. But isn’t it great that part of him is still right here in all this stuff he made…and in me…and in you?”

I tell ya, there’s not much that’s more rewarding than connecting the generations.


(This is a story I tell — among many others — in the book, Hooray for Grandparents!)

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