It's a difficult thing to put into words. The two sitters in this photo have given everyone who knows them a lot to think about. Once a person comes into their home they feel warm and welcome. They belong. That's a big deal all by itself, and a great thing to teach. They never give up their dignity, or try to take yours away. That's not so say they aren't a lot of fun, because they are. My grandparents are 82 years old this year, by the spring of 2009 they will be 83. They have been married 65 years. (I think they're both more fit than I am.)
How can I explain to people who have never met them the magic of a popsicle, or a lunch box? Or a pudding cup or noodles rolled out on the table? Could you possibly understand the tragedy of the Ben Franklin stove being removed from the front room? How the the triumph is when everything stays the same? Somehow I doubt it.
I invite everyone to try to be as great as them. And if you can't do that, I invite you to, at very least, create a legacy of love for your family as special as they have done for us.
*Those people standing in the back? A bunch of rabble-rousers. My mother, aunt, and uncles.