My G-ma hasn’t been feeling well recently & she has constantly been on my mind. She is most definitely one of the strongest people I know! I’m very thankful that she’s resting and taking time to recover so I wanted to write this for her so she can (hopefully) feel encouraged and have something to read while she’s resting.
My memories of G-ma begin so early that I can’t exactly pinpoint an age at which I started to build a memory bank filled with her beautiful face & lovely smile. She has simply always been in my life. I got to live with her for a while as a baby while my parents moved from one home to the next and I feel that built the foundation of our closeness and my admiration for her. She has always been someone I look up to. When I think of how to describe her, a few words come to mind: strength, beauty, poise, determination, perseverance, intelligence, and steadfastness. This woman faces adversity with her head held high & doesn’t back down from any challenge. Even more impressive than that, she doesn’t want any credit or accolades. This blog will probably make her blush, but I can’t hold it back. When a writer feels inspired by someone and needs to release those pent up words and memories from her heart, she has to write them down or she’ll burst. So share I must.
A few memories of my childhood: My Mom & Dad pile my sisters & I into the imposing blue station wagon with the rear facing seat in the back. Unadulterated excitement oozes from our small beings; we’re headed to grandma’s! The ten minutes it takes to drive there are almost too much for my small body to handle as I bounce my legs to release energy & ask my parents, “Are we there yet?” When we finally arrive, I bound toward the house, pigtails flying. G-ma & Tata greet us and hug us; I can remember how they smell & how their house smells. . . clean & fresh like fabric softener. Immediately, I’m treated to a cookie from the cookie jar. In all my years, I’ve never come across that cookie jar empty. G-ma always had the newest Disney movies and a satellite dish with the Disney channel, which we were very excited about, but we never just vegged in front of the tube until it was dark outside & almost time for bed. G-ma was always creative and resourceful when it came to finding games for us to play. I remember her cutting the top off of an empty laundry detergent container so we could use it to catch a tennis ball that we’d throw on top of the slanted garage roof. She explained how we could play different games with homemade toys like that & we were always occupied and having fun at her house. . . she never let us get bored!
Another favorite memory I have of G-ma is that she trusted us to walk the 1/2 mile from her house to the convenience store to pick out penny candy. She’d give me and my cousins & siblings each 50 cents or a dollar and send us on our way. We felt so independent and carefree as we traipsed down the sidewalk careful not to drop our coins on the way there and hanging onto our candy bags for dear life on the way back as we popped Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids in our mouths and kicked rocks. G-ma always knew how to make us feel special and loved while also allowing us to foster our independence and maturity.
When we had the privilege of going to G-ma’s after church, she let one of us ride on the “hump” in the backseat of the Lincoln (the armrest that pulled down in the middle). It was always a treat & the kid whose turn it was to ride there was full of giggles & grins. She would even take the route we loved her to take- up “The Big Hill”- so that we could pretend we were on a roller coaster.
G-ma makes the best roast, potatoes, carrots, corn, and noodles on Sunday afternoon. That smell wafting through the house is something I can never forget. Eating Sunday afternoon dinner at G-ma’s is better than any fine restaurant because it’s cozy and warms your heart as it warms your belly. While we’re on the subject of comfort food, G-ma’s CoCo Wheats cannot be duplicated. She corners the market on CoCo Wheats and no one else in the entire universe can make them as perfect as she can. Spending the night at G-ma’s meant waking up to CoCo Wheats and buttered toast to dip in them while sitting and watching cartoons with the TV tray and pretty much feeling like a princess.
In all of these memories, I find a common denominator: G-ma always makes me feel special. She has nine grandchildren and now 13 great grandchildren and she has the ability to make each and every one feel like the most special and loved. Â There’s nothing quite like the love of a grandparent.