I first met him under the red-hued light of a tiny Pizza Hut restaurant. (Pizzeria is probably a better term?) I remember walking up to the table, heart beating a mile a minute, hoping I might make a decent first impression. When I got to the table, he was sitting with one of his sons while I made a slight attempt to hide myself behind his other son. His wife was away for the weekend and I was about to spend the weekend in a female-less environment. At the time, I was a college senior and my usual surroundings consisted of high-piched voices, giggles, a fair share of drama, and enough estrogen to scare away most males. To say I felt out of place is an understatement.
I remember very little about that weekend, except that I spent a lot of time receiving the grand tour of winding and twisting roads of Amish Country, Ohio–guided by the man who had sat under the red-hued lights. Not only that, but the sounds of Burlap to Cashmere screamed from the radio speakers. (Twenty points for anyone who actually knows the group Burlap to Cashmere).
What I will never forget about that weekend, is that the man in the booth, under the red-hued lights of Pizza Hut, made me feel very, very comfortable. And he made me feel very, very welcome. And over 14 years later, he still makes me feel that way.
On that weekend, I had no way of knowing that he would one day be my Father in Law. I had no idea that not only was I hitting the jackpot in husbands, I was also hitting the jackpot with my In-Laws.
His name is Kim. His name is also Gramps. Today is his birthday.
Kim knows how I like my coffee. (For informational purposes, I like it to taste as little like coffee as possible.) Anyway, nearly every Tuesday morning while the kids are still sleeping and I’m pounding out miles on the treadmill, he quietly slips into the house and places a perfectly made coffee and donuts for the kids on the counter. We never see him or talk to him–he enters and leaves much like the elusive tooth fairy or Santa Claus, with only his special treats left behind.
Throughout the week, almost as if he has a sixth sense of knowing Summer could use a coffee, he will knock on the door, say hello, hand me a coffee, and be on his way.
Other times, I will find a text on my phone that states simply: on your porch. I open the door and sitting on the porch is a perfectly made coffee, delivered for no reason at all.
He expects nothing in return, he gets nothing from it, he only does it because that is who he is–he is a giver.
I’m not the only one who knows this–truly, everyone who knows him knows this about Kim. (Can I get an Amen?)
When I asked Charlie about his favorite memory with Gramps, he responded,. . .
KENTUCKY!!!! I liked when we drove to Kentucky and we stayed in a hotel and we celebrated my birthday in a restaurant and every day we went to the expo. That was so much fun!
When Charlie was 2, and 3 and again at age 4, Kim took Charlie on a road trip all by himself. Diapers and all, Kim carted Charlie along and together they took in all the exciting happenings in the Green industry. He made memories–he is making memories–that will last their lifetimes.
When I asked Chanelle the same questions she said this. . .
I liked when Gramps picked me up from preschool and we would sometimes go to lunch at Burger King or Chick-Fil-A. I also like the way Gramps loves me, make sure you put that, his LOVE.
Those are Chanelle’s exact words.
Meadow is a bit young to understand the question yet, but I already see the memories being made with her. Like how sometimes Meadow and I are taking a walk and Gramps/Kim drives by during his always very busy work day. I just love how he never misses an opportunity to stop the car, get out of the car, and hold his little grand-daughter. He never, ever, ever misses an opportunity.
Kim is an extremely busy business owner but he is never, ever, ever, too busy for his family.
The reality is, I could go on for so long writing about this really great guy who is half of the wonderful couple who made my husband who he is. I could tell story after story of the times he has given of himself and his time to pour into our kids and our family. I could go on and on and on. But, what I really want to say today is this. . .
I’m better for knowing you, Kim. We are all better for knowing you. . .
Happy Happy Birthday. . .