One of the greatest things we got to do while on vacation in Florida was to spend some time with my grandfather (Papi).
This was the first time we have been down since my abuela died in the fall and I have to admit it was strange. Family functions just aren't the same without her there.
The first weekend we were down, Mark had some time to visit with Papi one on one and he opened up a lot about how much he missed Abuela. My dad had said he really didn't talk about her much, but I guess since Mark would be less likely to get emotional he felt comfortable talking to him about her. I am so glad he did. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to adjust to life alone after spending 58 years with your spouse.
But, he is doing well and thoroughly enjoyed seeing and spending time with the kids. He mentioned several times how much Abuela would have loved to see them and how much they have grown and such, so it was a little bittersweet.
The kids love him and love that Mommy speaks Spanish when she is in Florida. Austin is completely fascinated by it and would repeat nearly everything I would say.
At 85 years old he is still very active and played with the kids.
Here he was playing "cell phone" with Mia. She could play that for hours and he was very patient in continuing to have play conversations with her.
I loved that she could clearly say his name and asked for him when he wasn't around. So cute!
One night we stayed at his house so that we could enjoy some extended time. That also allowed us to spend some time with Tia Gloria and enjoy her scrumptious cooking.
My great aunt (Abuela's sister) lives in the in-law apartment at the back of Papi's house. They have a nice arrangement where she cleans and cooks for him and he drives her to the places she needs to get to. They keep each other company and I know that makes Abuela and my great uncle smile.
Tia has a pet cockatiel named "Tweet." Austin was absolutely, positively fascinated by the bird. He wanted so badly for him to sit on his shoulder or rest in his hand, but Tweet only trusts two people. Papi and Tia. Regardless, he loved watching him and "talking" to him. Of course, the bird speaks Spanish so he couldn't understand.
What a blessing it is to know that my children have the opportunity and pleasure of knowing, loving and enjoying their great grandparents and other greats.
Though we don't get down to Florida very much I know that at least Austin knows he is loved beyond comprehension by Papi and many other family members.
Thank you Papi for who you are, how you love us and for being a ray of sunshine in our vacation.