Matt and I have been discussing the nature of family in the Biblical sense and what God intended family to be as a unit. There is a place of security, empowerment, support, being nurtured and strengthened that is really lacking in our culture today. Most families don’t even live in the same state anymore so when you need family around for support, or anything else, you sort of have to struggle through life alone instead.
A few years back Matt and I were lamenting the fact that we had no blood relatives living around us (his whole family is scattered through the US and then some in Switzerland- mine are in WA) and how this is unfortunate for our kids growing up without aunts, uncles and grandparents in their lives on a regular basis. So we began to talk about having Matt’s father living in Madison to be closer his family and easier access to his other children in the US. We only saw him once or twice a year for a few weeks then he was gone again. Our kids would have a week or two grandpa time to tide them over until next year.
Last year he moved to Madison and it’s been so refreshing to have him around. His grandchildren have come to know him as, “Habibi” which means ‘beloved one’ in Arabic. When he walks in the door Chloe squeals, ” Hi, Bibi!!!” I think she thinks his name is Bibi or Baby. It’s really sweet. Oliver likewise calls him Habibi as though that’s his name. “Habibi, can you fix this for me?” or “Habibi, can I have a snack?” Our kids love having their grandpa in their lives to play with them and love them and Matt and I cherish the dynamic of family living in our own area.
We are very lucky and thankful for having him in Madison. Not all men, fathers, or grandpas are nurturing, compassionate and playful with little people but he definitely is. He loves to watch them so Matt and I can have dates together or to just stop by to see how the wee ones are doing. Our kids always love it when he comes over or when they go to his house. He is a presence in their lives that adds history, culture and a taste of the good life that they will seldom find living in the Midwest. As they grow they will hear words that ring of their heritage as Swiss children and they will be reminded to love and enjoy life they way grandpa does. I am thankful for his presence in their lives, as well as ours, and that our kids get to know their grandpa growing up. Now the rest of the family needs to move here……