Tears that opened the door

I love my grandparents…

Right after page 146, in It’s What I Do, Addario displays a picture of her “Nina and Poppy having coffee.” At fist glance, feelings of nostalgia and love flooded my mind, and I was brought back to a place that I love more than anything in the world: the family dinner table.

The image reminded me of how much I enjoy sitting with my grandparents, over a cup of coffee, and simply talking about the news, sports, and the like.  Growing up these small conversations shaped and molded how I viewed the world; moreover, my grandpa made me a New York Giants fan, made me learn Republican ideologies, made me learn what it means to be a man, and made me understand that hard-work always pays off.

I can honestly say that my grandpa, in many ways, shaped the man that I am today; however, other experiences throughout my life aided me in searching beyond my grandfather’s (veteran, retired police officer, son of immigrants) view of the world. These experiences are accurately portrayed in a picture just after page 210. The picture depicts a close-up of a woman clearly in despair; she is crying and is obviously in a state of sadness.

Unluckily or luckily, I have seen faces such as the one depicted through my community service experiences…

On one evening last December, I was visiting the Manhattan Correctional Facility with a group of my peers. There, we held a prayer circle, and did the best we could to celebrate some version of Christmas. One inmate across from me in the circle wept and uttered, “I just want to wake up next to wife and kids on Christmas morning.” As I looked at the man, it was the first time that I ever felt some sort of remorse for a “criminal.”

Events such as the one above, coupled by my grandfather’s teachings, have allowed me to form my own view of the world. Now when I sit with my grandpa at the table, I am able to offer him other ways to look at events, people, and politics that contrast in comparison to his ideologies. While some may think this would cause my grandfather and I to grow apart, in fact, it has opened so many new doors in our relationship.

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