I don’t know why, but when I snuggle in at night, I often think of Grandma. She has always been a source of comfort. There was nothing Grandpa couldn’t fix, or Grandma couldn’t make. Nothing could go wrong. I could sit at Grandma’s bar and watch her work her magic in the kitchen. Who doesn’t love egg salad sandwiches, graham cracker-frosting sandwiches, Velveeta and shells, Jello in special glasses, and root beer popsicles? She brought me gifts when I had the chicken pox. She came to all my dance recitals. At bedtime, we would draw pictures on each other’s backs. I would cry when my mom picked me up from her house. She has been reliably there for me in any weather. And I appreciate her more every day.
I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time at Grandma’s house growing up. I still find out she knew more about my childhood than I realized. She cared, she paid attention, she loved me through it all. She remembers things I don’t. I always wanted to read the Cabbage Patch book. I used to hide my pacifier in Grandpa’s shoes. I would hang my purse with hers when we got home. In the bath, I washed a doll’s hair so much it took on the look of 1986 Madonna. I used to ask to watch Dumbo, and then just bawl through it.
I still would call her every day if that wouldn’t be weird, or if my kids would allow that. She loves her family, loves reminiscing, and she’s hilarious. Her funny memories had me laughing right into labor with my first child. She wants to know all about every one of my family. She has great ideas and loves playing with my kids. I know I’m not viewing her through rose-colored memories, because my boys all immediately took to her, and think she is extraordinarily fun. They always ask when they can visit her.
They say you understand God’s love for you when you become a parent. It can still be hard to imagine having enough love and attention to love that many people. Grandma’s love allows me to accept that. She has eight other grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. I know she is as devoted to each of them as she is to me. How does she do it? That takes a lot of love.
The house Grandma lived in since 1957, through my childhood, was a place full of memories. I loved walking through the rooms, imagining my mom and her siblings growing up there. I made plenty of my own memories there too. I loved dialing her rotary phone. The candy jars were full. The kitchen was where stories were told, women worked together, and you ran in and out from the backyard. The family room had cozy couches and the TV on. There was a feeling of comfort, safety, and belonging. And the back bedroom she made mine. There were even little red letters on the wall spelling my name. I couldn’t believe with all the people she loved, there was a place for me. I guess that’s what heaven’s like.
I’m incredibly blessed to still talk to Grandma about anything. Anytime. I know she will have jokes, stories, wisdom, faith, hope. I know I’m lucky my boys and I get to share and make memories with this incredible woman!