I was lucky. I had many years to enjoy the company of all four of my grandparents. My maternal grandparents were very different from my paternal grandparents, but their love is something that will stick with me, always, even though they are not here with me today.

My maternal grandparents, Howard and Catherine. Grandma was a musician. She was an amazingly skilled pianist. They had a grand piano in their living room and she sat at it often, and I listened to her play. They did not have a TV, they had a piano, bookshelf upon bookshelf and a rotary phone that I liked to play with. I often would sit by my Grandma on the piano bench, watching her and listening. As I grew older, I learned to play the violin, and she was kind enough to accompany me. We even performed together at many violin concerts. Music was something that always brought the family together. In fact, every Christmas Eve we would go to that piano, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, children and sing carols to my Grandma’s piano playing. We have cassette tapes, yes cassette tapes, of her playing the piano. Even some of me and her playing together. Then, my Grandpa. When I got my driver’s license I would drive him on his errands to the post office, to get his sliced rye bread and to the pharmacy or market. My favorite was when we went to Lyman Orchards and he’d buy me a pastry. He would tell stories, we’d go out to the back yard and he’d sit while I fed the birds.

My paternal grandparents, Bill and Angie. Grandma would take me to the beach, bowling, she loved to sing and dance. She did this magic trick where she would make her watch disappear. She had Sicilian flare, made mean meatballs. My all-time favorite; her stuffed artichokes which I regret not learning how to make. She was a firecracker, always at center stage. Grandpa was stoic, quiet and kind. He brought balance to the household. I also need to mention he looked like Ronald Reagan. I loved listening to his stories. I even interviewed him for a school project and learned all about his war stories. He was a war hero.

My grandparents were my heroes. I do wish they all were physically here to watch Evie and Spence grow, so that my kids would know them. But that is my job to keep them alive through their stories, stories like these. I look up to the heavens and believe they are watching my kids grow.

I’m grateful every day that our kids get to grow up with their five grandparents. Treasured memories they will carry with them, always. It’s a joy to listen to my daughter’s stories now. I can only imagine how these stories will evolve. I look forward to it.