Monday, March 12, 2012


If my grandfather was alive, today would be his 86th birthday.

Last year. Drinking an Irish coffee and hiding some whiskey.

 He passed away almost a year ago. I still forget that sometimes. Same with my grandmother. She passed away before Christmas. There are many days that I pick up the phone to call them or almost stop by their house. And then I remember.

On my 21st birthday that was not 10 years ago. Crap!
There are a million things that I could tell you about my grandparents, but today I just want to tell you a little about how my grandfather helped to mold me into the mother that I strive to be. That might sound funny, but I think you'll soon understand.

You see, my grandfather was special. He did things. He made things happen. He wasn't afraid to take risks, be disliked, learn something new, or speak up for himself.

He was the kind of guy that just decided that he would go to Brown University one day. He ran for congress. He founded important things like the Upward Bound program and the International Berkeley Society. He interviewed famous philosophers and wrote books about education. He was a teacher and he never stopped teaching and learning.

I'm not gonna lie, it totally helped having a college professor as your grandfather :)
There are more things and even though they matter, I don't want to write about them.
He gave me my college degree after he received his honorary Doctorate.
I want to write about the way he created traditions for our family. The way that he made even the silliest of things into a grand event. The camp songs that he wrote for his former camp that I now sing to my girl. How every Christmas, Santa came and brought gifts to us.

Yup. That's Santa. He still gets stuffed with little gifts.
The way he did things. That's the way I want to do things. I want Liza to grow up having some magic in her life. I want the most ordinary of things to feel like a special event and I want important days to be incredible. We had celebrations, parades, and award ceremonies all the time. Even just random days.

A parade and ceremony in the woods.

He fixed everything with duct tape. He made his own cards. He knew everybody.

Isn't this much better than a standard thank you?! That's my dad in the corner :)
He showed me that the big things in life that you accomplish are fantastic, but it's the little things that people remember. The special songs you sing together. The time you spend drinking chocolate cabinets. The faith you have in people. 

My favorite picture. Look how cute I was! 
My grandfather always told me to do something more than I was doing. If I wasn't happy with something then I should do something about it. If I had an idea and he thought it might be good, there was no reason as to why I couldn't make it happen. He had no patience for excuses and even less for laziness.

At our annual Labor Day Golf Tournament 2010
He challenged me. He encouraged me. He told me to write. Even two weeks before he died. He told me to write every day and to stop worrying about what I would write. That's one of the reasons I took the plunge with Katey and started blogging.

Reading the poem he wrote for my wedding.
I hope to be the kind of mother that makes everyday special and special days magnificient. I fail at this sometimes, but I aim to create a special moment everyday. Sometimes it's as simple as being 100% present while playing and reading with Liza. Somedays it might be something else.

My Pop & Liza.

All I know is that I don't want to waste my life.  I want to live it to the fullest. Enough with the excuses.  Money, time, friendships, a small house...they cannot stop me.

It's a gorgeous spring day today and I am going to spend it outdoors with my girl. Every second of the day I will be thinking of my Pop and how his life has helped me to grow as a person. I'll be busy singing his songs to Liza.
Back when I was young...

I hope you have a wonderful day. Live it to it's fullest.

XO Sarah

P.S. My parents did an amazing job making my childhood magical, but today's post was just about my grandfather. I love you mom and dad! And my other grandparents & aunts! xoxo


  1. Very nice Sarah!!
    -Dan Houghton

  2. making me cry's how i feel too..

  3. Sarah, I don't know you but I know some of your family. I loved your story about your grandfather. I felt the same about mine. He touched my heart and he's still with me. I see him in the eyes of my children. Those we love never leave us.
    Keep writing. You've got the touch.
    Cheryl Metzger

    1. Thank you, Cheryl! I really appreciate that!

  4. Sarah,

    This is a BEAUTIFUL tribute to your Pop. He was a very special man and I am so glad I got to meet and know him. I will never forget that labor day weekend we spent with our Rhode Island family and how special it was.

    With much love,

    Tina Houghton

  5. Sarah this was so moving...and I'm sure your Pop is smiling down at you everyday. As someone else said, keep writing, you have the knack for it.

    Kathy Brown

  6. Thanks so much Kathy and Tina! xoxo Sarah

  7. That was so sweet, Sarah! For much of my childhood I was blessed to have all four grandparents with me, but then they all passed away within the space of just a few years - my mother's mother shortly after Josiah was born. Wishing they could see their grandchildren, wishing my grandparents could impart their wisdom and blessing, made their passing all the more painful. So many times I'll think, "Grandpa would love to see this!" or "I bet this would make Grandma smile."

  8. That was so beautiful your pops was right keep writing Sarah!!!!!
    -Cindy Houghton

  9. Sarah, I didn't know anything about your grandfather -- or this stuff about you. Thanks for sharing! I'm inspired!