I had my eye out on this sweet vintage inspired dress made by my friend Angel of TaDa Creations. She's taking a break from professional sewing and so I was bummed when I didn't win it. Then I started thinking about why I loved this dress so much and I realized that as much as I liked the dress, it was the memory it brought to mind that I missed most. The memory of mi Abuelito (that's spanish for my grandpa).
You see mi Abuelito was the most influential man in my life growing up. Actually, he's been the most influential man in my life period. My dad was not a family man in any way and after my parents divorced when I was little bitty, he never made an effort to have me in his life. Mi Abuelito was such a strong, godly man, yet such a gentle soul. I was his first grandchild and he spoiled me rotten - not with material things, but with the things that really matter to a child - with unconditional love, undivided attention, guidance, humor, patience...I always knew he loved me and he always told me he was proud of me. He read the Three Little Pigs story to me, pausing for effect to show me how the wolf tried to blow down the houses and focusing on the moral of the story...hard work. At over 6 feet tall, he never hesitated to get down on the floor with me to play with play dough, paper dolls, strawberry shortcake, barbies or any other game. He watched cartoons with me and belly laughed right alongside this silly toddler. He taught me how to play memory and then pretended I was really winning when I would cheat by looking at the cards from underneath the glass cabinet we used as a table. When I got a D in P.E. in the first grade because I didn't know how to jump rope (seriously, no teacher should ever give a kid a D in P.E. in the first grade!!) he tied a rope to one side of the fence and patiently turned the rope to show me how to jump, never getting frustrated at my non-athletic abilities. He even let me put rollers in his hair and make-up on his face :) He taught by example, taking up the role of family man when his own father died at a very young age, leaving him to provide for his family and 10 siblings. He was a soldier. He was a math whiz. He was an entrepreneur, but with a soft heart. He was never one to take a handout, but never hesitated to reach out to others in need. He loved my grandma in every way imaginable over the 50+ years they were married, and lived his life for God and for his family. He passed away in 2005, after battling Alzheimer's disease for over 15 years, yes 15 years! Oh, how I miss him. His kind eyes, his strong hands, his tender demeanor. I don't think I ever told him "Thank You" in words while he was still in his right mind, but I hope he knew how much I looked up to him. I so wish he could have met Grace...and read The Three Little Pigs to her...I love you Abuelito!