Memorial Day

I had barely glanced at the cover since bringing the book home from the library. The title, Grandfather’s Wrinkles, had been chosen to coincide with our week-long study of human skin. I saw “wrinkles” and thought it’d be a good choice for this week‘s topic.

And then I sat down to read the book to the girls. We settled on the couch, and I put the book in my lap. After staring at the cover for a moment, I quickly leafed through the pages and asked Belly, in a wavering voice, “who does this remind you of?” as I pointed to the illustrated grandfather.

Opa!” she said.

And, I burst into tears. Great sobbing tears that I couldn’t hold back even though my girls were looking at me with big eyes.

Three-and-a-half years since my dad’s death, I no longer cry daily or even weekly. I may tear up when I hear Fleetwood Mac on the car stereo, or think of him when a Republican says something stupid (“Ha, Daddy!”, I think). But I don’t cry often. Mostly, I just feel an ache of longing for his presence, a wish he could see what we were all doing and could be a part of our daily lives.

But, this book slapped me in the face. Here he was: gray hair and mustache, glasses, kind eyes and smile; blue denim shirt with white t-shirt underneath, red suspenders and tan shoes. And next to him is a little girl with honey-colored hair who could have been my own Belly.

The story itself isn’t exact to his life—he didn’t have a big church wedding or a dog. But, he is there. I can feel it as I flip through the pages of the book and dry my tears.

I plan to buy the book for myself, my sister and my mom. I won’t be able to watch them go through it though. I think they’ll understand.


  1. Alpha DogMa says

    This was a lovely post, FOM. A nice tribute to your dad. It makes me think that I should play nice with my dad while I have the luxury of his presence.

  2. (((hug)))

  3. AnotherMomCreation says

    It’s interesting how these things just hit you out of the blue. I’ve had that happen to me recently too.

  4. It’s amazing what can bring those feelings back. We’ve read that book too and it is an emotional one, but I can see why its more so for you.

  5. I do not have a super great relationship with my father, but I do not have a bad one. He came from a different generation. He does not know how to be an affectionate father.

    Now that he is older (75) he is letting his emotions show more. I guess he feels, what the heck.

    I do dread that day that one of my parents goes.

    My parents are not evil, they have just become so bitter in their old age. I don’t ever want to get like that. And I tell my daughter all the time, “You better slap me into reality if I start to get like that.” She promises me that she will.

    May you cry tears of joy and let your children see that it is OK to mourn and be happy. Did that just make sense?

  6. Shari Dash Greenspan says

    Thanks for your kind words about our book, Grandfather’s Wrinkles, and for sharing your experience regarding this book with your readers. Did you notice that the illustrator used himself as the model for the grandfather? You can see photos of Richard McFarland in his studio on our webpage:
    All the best,
    Shari Greenspan

  7. Anonymous says

    Richard McFarland said…
    Perhaps the greatest gift is not so much in what we receive, but through loving memories that we share with others.
    Illustrating Grandfather’s Wrinkles has been an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget. And if I can touch a single heart with this story, then it was all worth while! Thank you.
    -Richard McFarland, Illustrator…Grandfather’s Wrinkles.

  8. Big, big hug. makes me want to call my parents right now…and look a little more forward to their impending visit this weekend. Miss you lots!

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