My name is Harper Grace. I’m pretty special because I am my Pop Pop’s favorite “Little Missy”. That is what he calls me. I’m his first granddaughter, so that makes me a lot more special to him and my Nawnie.

I was born on January 13. I am not a year old yet, but I’m busy crawling and learning to walk. When I found out how my arms worked, my mom showed me how to wave when we saw people or we were leaving. My Pop Pop thought it was really neat to see me wave. I think this because my Pop Pop waves at me a lot. When I’m playing with my toys and he is watching me, he will sit and wave at me. I smile at him and wave back. When I am sitting down to eat my ‘bites’, my Pop Pop will wave at me then, too. I smile and wave back. My Pop Pop is funny that way. I don’t understand much of what makes my Pop Pop wave, but I’ll keep waving back because it makes him smile when I do. I’m not sure why yet, but my mom wants me to know something that will help me understand when I get older.

About seven years before I was born, some doctors told my Pop Pop that he had Parkinson’s Disease. What that means is that he has tremors in his hands and legs. He sometimes walks very slowly, which is o.k. with me because I’m a fast crawler, but not super fast and he can still keep up with me. He also has balance problems that make it hard on some days for him to hold me because he is afraid that we will both fall. Some days are hard because he can hardly move. Some days he can move like anybody else. Even if I think it’s funny that I’m trying to crawl away, he will still come get me because he doesn’t want me to get into trouble. I don’t know what trouble is yet, or how I can get into it, but I have a feeling I will find out soon enough.

My Pop Pop’s waves are not really waves, they are his hands shaking that look like he is waving. It doesn’t happen all the time because the pills he takes help him not to shake. On some days when the pills don’t work he waves at me a lot more and that is o.k. with me because I love to wave at my Pop Pop any chance I get.

My mom says that Pop Pop works hard to try to help people find a way to make him and many more people around the world to stop “waving” so much. He tells mom that when he waves a lot that it gets tiring and frustrating. When I get older and can walk and talk, I’m going to help him find people who will help too. Then it will be o.k. that he doesn’t wave as much, because when I was born I think I heard him say (my cousin Landon says that he told him the same thing) “You can have anything you want”. One thing I want for sure is for this thing called Parkinson’s Disease to not be around anymore and that my Pop Pop will be all well again.

P.S. Please pray for my Pop Pop and all the other people who live with Parkinson’s Disease.

Harper Grace


4 thoughts on “When My Pop Pop Waves At Me

  1. Dear Harper Grace,
    I enjoyed reading your post for several reasons. First, my Nana has Parkinson’s, too; so I understood about the shaking and other things they call “symptoms.”

    Secondly, you and Pop Pop live in Texas, and my nana and I live in Tennessee. Yet, nana says she is good friends with your grandfather. How can that be? I asked nana to explain, and she did.

    When you have a chronic illness like Parkinson’s disease, you need friends to talk with who understand what you are going through. They support each other with learning new things and sharing things they have been through. And if you become an advocate for Parkinson’s, that means you are joining something like a club. This club is getting together to help find a cure, or at least better treatments. Nana and Pop Pop are in this club. Because we have the Internet, it wouldn’t matter if we lived in Italy, any and all of us can join this club!

    Finally, my nana says that anybody that is wanting to find better treatments for Parkinson’s can be a member of this club. Nana says she likes the word “community.” That means you, Harper Grace, my Nana’s kids and grandkids (Hollyn, Amia, and William) can all be a part of the same community, even though we live miles apart!

    I’m kind of glad my nana has Parkinson’s, because there are some really neat people in the Parkinson’s community.

    Nana’s kids


  2. Harper’s story is touching and profoundly real to me. When our 4 year old granddaughter looks at my shaking hand I can see the questions and concern in her eyes, yet she is unsure what to say or ask and I am unsure how to respond.

    My husband and I recently returned from a 2 week trip far away, to visit our 2 year old granddaughter and new 2 month old grandson. It was a bitter-sweet visit for me, as it was physically challenging to care for and play with the children as I would have liked.

    I will save Harper’s story and Peggy’s comments to share with our grandkids when they are old enough to understand. I have been given a gift of how to explain Parkinson’s in a very positive way to their young minds. I will be forever grateful that you shared these stories.

    Thank you from my heart.


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