Funny. Cuddly. Adventurous. A storyteller. The man with all the new gagets. My Grandpa Chris was the best. He must have been cute too, because so many people tell me that I look just like him! Here’s a picture of Grandpa Chris when he was about my age.
The first time I met Grandpa Chris, he dressed me in a lot of blue with bunnies and took me tailgating! It was so fun to get out of the house and see so many people. That weekend he really got to experience being a Grandparent, and I am pretty sure he absolutely loved it. He would always be first in line to feed me (Jaden was a slow eater and hard to burp!)
Early November we traveled to South Dakota for the first time. The long day in the car was worth it to be hugged and kissed by so many family members! The day after Aunt Rachel’s wedding, Grandpa took us out for breakfast at Perkins before sending us on our long drive home.
I didn’t have to wait long and Grandpa Chris came to visit again for Thanksgiving weekend---a busy weekend with shopping, celebrating Grandpa’s birthday, and our baptism.
Jaden and I were so lucky not to have to travel over the holidays. Grandpa and Grandma Schumacher came to Illinois for Christmas. Grandpa taught me his tradition of having a candlelight soup supper after going to church on Christmas Eve and reading the Christmas story from the Bible. He gave Jaden and me a book of the Christmas story.
In January I got to see Grandpa Chris again during a short trip to Sioux Falls when mommy and I flew into Minneapolis to visit friends. Grandpa took me out to eat at Perkins again….I just love that restaurant!
In February, Jaden and I got to travel to Des Moines for the family’s annual mid-winter get-together. We stayed in the same location where just one year previous, mommy and daddy told Grandpa Chris that they were expanding their home by 4 feet! I was taking tips from Grandpa Chris on how to best eat my rice cereal. Don’t tell anyone, but he showed me where his stash of chocolate was for when I graduated from the cereal!
In April mommy had surgery and couldn’t lift us for 6 weeks! After Grandma Pam left at the end of the month, Grandma Linda and Grandpa Chris came to play. Grandpa brought with him this jumperoo contraption to keep Jaden’s busy legs occupied. We both loved to use it and swing in it too!
Unfortunately, just five weeks later, we made the trip to South Dakota to be with Grandpa when he was diagnosed with stage 3 Lymphoma. I was glad we could brighten his days in the hospital. I wish we could have stayed longer, but I guess the medicine to make him feel better could have hurt us. Wish I could have cuddled with him during his treatments.
I went back to South Dakota for a couple weeks in July and got to play with Grandpa at his house. He built towers for Jaden to knock over and I clapped for him. Grandpa Chris even knew the same song that Daddy sings to us.
Over our birthday weekend Grandpa Chris really wanted to go to the South Dakota State Fair. We were happy to go along- Grandpa Al, dad, and mom got their fill of unlimited chocolate milk while Jaden and I got to ride Grandpa Chris’ scooter!
I was surprised when mom picked us up early from day care and we took another trip to South Dakota. I was worried. I knew Grandpa was sick, but he was always smiling, always laughing, and would always make me laugh---how could he be really really sick? It wasn’t fair. We got to see him Wednesday night and Thursday. This picture was taken Thursday morning. We just loved cuddling with him and made him smile from ear to ear. This was our last picture with Grandpa Chris. We miss him so so much. We will never forget him and will strive to carry on those positive qualities that made grandpa, grandpa: a strong faith, a sense of humor, loyalty, a warm smile, inquisitive questions, carefree personality, and a contagious laugh.
We will always love you Grandpa!
Evan (and Jaden)