What is it like to have a grandpa?

(Note: “Nanima” = maternal grandma. “Nanababa” = maternal grandpa. “Dada” = paternal grandpa)

What is it like to have a grandpa?

The last time I had a grandpa, I was in middle school, almost eight years ago.

What would our conversations be like today? I talk to my dad all the time, about all sorts of things. Would talking to his dad be similar?

He only ever interacted with me as an adult would to a little kid. How would he have treated me as a teenager? As an adult?

Nanima always talks to me about my future: my career and getting married. What opinions would he have? What would Nanababa say?

How similar would he be to my dad? From what others say, they are pretty similar. Would I have been able to detect that if I could see them together?

What kind of stories would he tell me? My most vivid memory of him is when he told me the monkey story – back in India, when a monkey stole his mom’s mirror. What other stories from India would I have heard?

What answers would he give me to my questions about Islam? Wow…I can only imagine. He wrote so many articles and brochures. He dedicated half of his life to Islamic education. Imagine having a family member with that kind of wealth of knowledge. I am amazed seeing the effects of his teaching on his children. Just imagine being able to hear it firsthand.

Then again, if he was still here, I’d probably be saying this about his teachers, and then their teachers. When it comes down to it, we all just wish we could have lived in the company of Rasulallah, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam.

Having a grandpa. Even just one. I feel like my life would have been so different.

I know it can’t happen. I’m not going to dwell on the fact that I’ll never have that experience, and I’m in no way unsatisfied with the family members I have been blessed with. It’s just those small moments when I see someone else share a sweet moment with their grandpa that I wonder what kind of sweet moments I would have had with mine. When I hear an uncle fondly talk about his grandkids, it makes me wonder what Dada or Nanababa would have said about me…

I miss them. I don’t remember much about either of them, but I mourn for the idea of it all. Having a grandpa. Having another person to love me and take care of me. Another person to talk to and get advice from. Another person in my dear family.

Grandpa. That position has been empty for so long, and I always wonder what it would have been like.