This post is dedicated to my late Pa who passed away at the age of 96 a couple of weeks ago. Last week was one of those marathon weeks where family flew in from all parts of the globe for his funeral, and despite sleepless nights and many tears it reinforced to me the grounding drive of life – family.
I was deeply affected by how much my kids grieved for Pa. Little Buggy wept when I told her the news outside his home, and later again at the memorial service. Hamster was intent on seeing Pa the day he died to solidify his understanding of events, and a week later worked on making a ‘blaster’ from cardboard roll to shoot down the star Pa had become, to be back on Earth with us.
It feels right to commemorate him in my blog, because during one of the eulogies I was reminded that Pa’s life was one of industry. He was everyone’s saving grace when something broke down, or didn’t work properly or they needed advice on investment or tax laws or what to plant in the garden. As mum says, she really could say that her dad knew everything. He did.
And if he didn’t know he found out. No task was too big or too tedious. Pa would fiddle with something until he had a solution. How many of us can say that today?
When I was a toddler my Pa would visit me in Singapore and fix my teddy’s arms when they periodically tore off from too much love. Years later after a Formal, my Pa fixed my clutch when most would have thrown it away. Candle wax stuck through fine mesh and lace. He got it all out.
It occurs to me, that I was brought up by parents and grandparents alike who toil more and rest less. And I have decided it hasn’t been about achievement but simply about the love and need for ‘doing’. And here I am today, filling my every spare moment with my industry: sewing.
There’s much to learn from the generation who had to make do with nothing but created so much. And this in itself is what I’d like to pass down to my crew.
Pa’s curiosity for life and how things tick crossed gender boundaries. He made jam and he knew how to sew even though that was mainly Grandma’s domain. He understood the finer things as well as how to paint a house and figure out its electrics. I realise I have married a similar man, who might drive me to distraction with his acquirement of new hobbies, but its also exactly this reason I married him.
My kids love collecting trinkets from my grandparents and, besides fretting momentarily at more clutter, I welcome each piece. We retrieved a small cushion from Pa’s room in the recent tidy up and Hamster has been sleeping with it each night, his arm tightly wound around for comfort. Grandma still knits squares which Buggy acquires from time to time and they become little blankets for her teddies.
Sometimes its not memories of ‘doing’ that prevail, its the smells and sounds. A vivid and nostalgic memory for me is the exact smell and sight of my Pa’s garage. Everything was clean and in its place – the old paint cans and tools, jars of nails and screws, fold-up chairs and the old-fashioned scooter we played on; and underlying was a faint smell of lawn mower fuel from his jerry can that was unique to that garage. Many times I was sent up to that garage to tell Pa lunch was ready or morning tea or an afternoon cup of tea. And for me it remains a striking and comforting memory of my Pa.
There’s something about the routine and pace of grandparents that provides the security that comes with their unconditional love. I see it as my own parents provide this to my kids and the calmness and haven of their house when we visit.
Here’s to my Pa and my beautiful Grandma remaining. Here’s to grandparents who follow, the greatest figures a child can have in their lives.
This is my second Barefoot romper tested for Twig + Tale – their latest pattern to be released. I sewed the 3/4 length pants, the spaghetti straps, kangaroo pocket, and made my own ruffled hems.