I began Project Grandparents to capture and celebrate my maternal and paternal grandparents who have all been very active and vibrant in my life. Their love, their lives, and their connection are something I’ve always known but hope to never take for granted.
My paternal grandparents, the Dahlbergs, met and married when they were young whippersnappers, and nearly six decades, two kids, six grandbabies, and soon-to-be four great-grandbabies later, they are still discovering newness in their ever-changing lives. They started their newest chapter a few years ago when they moved from their long-term home in Kalispell to a new space in Missoula, Montana to be nearer to family and support systems. Their move allowed me to spend a rare and cherished shared zip code for an overlapping three years in the Missoula valley.
Their love story is full of discovery both of wild, natural spaces and second-hand, vintage finds, two passions I find alive and well within myself. Thanks to their newest addition, rescue puppers, Amber, their days are filled with a harmony of sharp barks, spastic, happy pounces, low volume narrative sports or political television, jigsaw puzzles, and, at times, side-by-side silence.
As we meandered around the riverside paths to capture their bond, I saw a playfulness, youthfulness, and tenderness that only comes from infinite hours of being near one another. The way their hands linked, the pace of their strides, and how they stood and fit beside one another is reflective of the texture of their love, quiet, soft, and familiar.
When I look into my husband’s face and wonder at the forever friend and partner I found in him, I see and appreciate all he is while also recognizing the depths of nuances of how I learned what I need in a spouse. My references are vast, unique, and wide including a lifetime of watching my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and certainly, my grandparents.
Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, for being constants in my life. I come from a place of such reserved, complex love emphasizing that each day we live, we affirm the choice to be with the person we know better than we know ourselves. May your love always be a wild trail with vintage trappings.