• Karen Heckman Stork

Life's Signposts

…Yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream. —

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


Life has many memorable and noteworthy moments that determine the path of one’s future. For example, wedding day, birth of children, graduation milestones, a child’s marriage, and the birth of grandchildren. These are examples of signposts and stopping points on our life’s path when we might slow down and reflect on which road to take or what we want our life to be. Such a special moment in a grandmother’s life is when see your grandchild graduate from college and begin their personal journey into the future.


I was privileged to have that experience twice, with my grandson, who graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln two years ago, and just a few weeks ago with my granddaughter who graduated (summa cum laude, by the way) from Vanderbilt University.


As I was reflecting on these accomplishments and where my grandchildren’s paths in life might take them, I suddenly realized that my close relationship with them would be forever changed. We were now at opposite ends of life’s highway— they at the beginning, me moving ever closer to the end of my path. They were now adults on their own, facing their own struggles and making their own decisions.


I’ve been closely involved in the lives of my grandchildren throughout the years, even after they moved away from their hometown at 8 and 10 years of age. I fondly remember the many discussions we had about life and the lessons I tried to teach them. When they started school in Lincoln, NE, I was given the task of picking them up after a half day of kindergarten and delivering them to their Mom's workplace -- a day care center. I got to be the first to hear about their day and ask them to tell me something new they had learned. In the spring and summer months, my daughter and I would also make the rounds of garage sales every Saturday to search out bargains for kids’ clothes and toys. Friday nights were for baby sitting and were shared every other week with my son-in-law’s parents. I never had to make a decision about where to spend birthdays and holiday celebrations — it was always with family.


I was fortunate to have been such a integral part of my grandchildren’s lives during their most formative years. In today’s mobile world, this is no longer the norm, and I think both grandparents and the grandchildren miss something valuable by not having a close day-to-day relationship.


But that part of my life is now over, and though it's part of "the circle of life," it still makes me a little sad. My grandchildren will be located in separate cities from both me and their parents. I hope my life and the lessons I tried to impart will have some lasting impact on their future. All I can do now is wish them well from afar, keep in touch through texting and occasional phone calls, see them at least once a year at Christmas, and, of course, look forward to weddings and the birth of the next generation, if I’m lucky.



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© 2017 Karen Heckman Stork. All Rights Reserved.

Karen Stork: Nebraska Writer
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