Today would have been my Grandfather’s 85th birthday. He has been gone over a year now but I still can’t dwell on him long without crying. I love that man. He taught me at the early age of 6 to pop my knuckles, a habit I don’t know if I’ll ever break. At the age of 20 I would still sit on his lap and hold his hand. I remember I called him on my birthday in 2011 at the hospital, knowing he would want to wish me a happy birthday, also knowing the sweet man wouldn’t remember. We talked and I started crying on the phone as he said, “Kris, I have to get better, I have a wedding to get to in August!” Though my grandfather wasn’t present at my wedding, it’s comforting to know that he is with our Savior, pain free. I have Norman Oakley to thank for my love for the New York Yankees. He raised my dad right, to be a Yankee; and so on my daddy raised me right. Living just 25 minutes away from Yankee Stadium he loved baseball and would sit in his big comfy chair and watch the Yankees faithfully. Was my grandpa ever a Yankee! A little grumpy at times, typical Yankee ;) but sweet and sensitive down to the core. He drove like a Yankee too. Two of my close friends flew up to NJ with me to spend time there and in NYC one summer and my grandpa picked us up from the airport. On the drive home he honked at least 20 times. Once he honked at the most random place and I asked him why he honked just then. He said that he needed to let the cars know up ahead that he was coming. A mile ahead? My friends and I still laugh about that. I grew used to seeing my grandparents only once or twice a year but thankfully that all changed from 2009 on. Once my boyfriend turned fiancé turned husband and I started dating, and I would go visit him in Philly, we always took the trip to see my grandparents. I will never forget or take for granted the extra time I was able to spend with them those 2 years. So so thankful. I am beyond blessed to have been his granddaughter and to have learned from his strength and dedication to the Lord.