Better Call Grandpa

By: Emma Johnston
The other day my daughter sat me down for a little chat. She was quite disappointed with my role as home decorator as I had neglected to get the outdoor Christmas lights up in a timely manner. She frowned, she may have stomped her foot, her general displeasure was evident.

“It’s been busy” I explained to her. (an inadequate excuse) She didn’t buy it.
“The inside is decorated.” I tried – clearly, that wasn’t good enough.
She sighed and like any serious 5- year- old began her own unique method of brain storming. (My daughter does summersaults on the couch for inspiration)
“I know what to do.” She said eventually, her hair all static and Medusa- esq.
“What we need to do is get a ladder, a hammer, some tools…” she tapped her tiny finger on her chin wisely. “What we need,” she concluded. “Is we need to call Grandpa.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at her problem solving. If there’s a problem too big for her delinquent parents to handle, then the only logical solution – call Grandpa. You see, in our family, Grandpa fixes things, all things. From the desperate lack of a play house in our back yard, to the leaning book shelf, to the stuck garage door, Grandpa is only a phone call away. My daughter has realized, that if something’s not quite right, Grandpa will come faithfully to our rescue.

At this moment it occurred to me, that this Grandfather/Granddaughter relationship was so normal and natural to my daughter that it was only second nature for her to say, “Call Grandpa.” I didn’t have that as a kid. My grandparents living in England and Skype still a thing of the future, this was never a sentence that came from my mouth. But for my daughter, it’s simply common sense, when in doubt, call Grandpa!

Grandpa has always been there, fixing whatever is broken, and being such a present and real part of her life that he’s become her go to guy. If mom and dad are useless, then she knows exactly who to call.

I couldn’t have been happier – because the foremost reason we live here in this village, is because, at least some of the people we care about most, those people we love and cherish and apparently can’t get through life without, are only minutes away.

The fact that I live here and that I choose to raise my family here is not a coincidence or a happy accident. It was so deliberate that when it came time to buying our family house, it was the only place we looked. This may not work for all people, but for me, living close to my family, to those people I can count on and call on any time of day or night, it’s one of those things that are most important to me.

Burford is home. Not just because I live here. Not just because I grew up here and wandered the streets here. Not just because I use the library, and order my take out and get my mail here. But because so many of the people I love are here.
Because, Grandpa (and Grandma) are all only a phone call away.

And I love surrounding my children with people who care about them. People who love them and support them and are so active in their lives that they can turn from my husband and I and immediately be in the presence of other people who care about them. People who invest in them, spend time with them, build with them, read to them, watch movies and eat cookies with them.
People they can turn to when us parents just aren’t doing things right.

My whole family love the people we share this village with. And, whether you share this village with your own family or with friends, or with faithful neighbours, I hope you have people you can go to as readily as my children and I do. That you get to do your journey in life surrounded by people that you love and that love you in return.

And to my parents, any hope of getting rid of me when I turned 18 is long gone – I’m not going anywhere.

In fact, all this to say…

Dad, are you busy Saturday? I have this box of Christmas lights…

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