This past week, my grandparents flew out from Kentucky, where they live, to visit our family here in Seattle. They wanted to see how we had settled and meet baby Harper, their 3rd great grandchild.
We had a lot of time to talk, and I wanted to use it to learn all I could about their past, their lives, their history.
In the 1940s, Judith Kay Butler and Robert Joseph Butler (simply Grandma and Grandpa to me) met when they were merely tweens, in their small hometown of Noblesville, Indiana.
By the time they were my age, they had left their small farming community and headed to Indianapolis, and then for the big city (at first in the projects of Chicago.) They had 4 small children, and buried a 5th. A tragedy they both refer to as the worst of their lives.
They raised 4 children, trekking them cross country every summer in a tent camper to see sites they themselves had never seen as children: the bright lights of Vegas, Mt. Rushmore, and the California coast.
They scrimped and saved and learned to invest- eventually vowing to pay for all 4 of their children to go to college. A promise they made good on for those who took them up on it. And now they’ve seen almost all of their grandkids (the ones who are old enough) head to college and beyond. There are doctors and teachers among us. Again, my grandparents have trekked the country together for graduations, weddings, and babies born.
I doubt that we could survive the tragedies that they have had to endure in their lifetime. But I can only hope for as many blessings as they’ve enjoyed.
I worry that we lack the resources to cover the costs of greater opportunity for our children. But, I pray that we can raise up the next generation of strong, spirited sojourners with discipline and determination.
I’m not sure I am the kind of wife and mother who is patient enough to withstand dirty, chaotic adventures like tent trailer camping cross country. But, I’m certain we will have many adventures of our own.
And, as we head out on our own path, on our own journey, I know where to look and who to follow.