Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas Grandma

This December marks the tenth year of Christmases without my grandma. My mom's mom fit the portrait of a grandmother perfectly. She was always smiling, always cooking, and always offering something to eat. My favorite was when she had made cookies, usually oatmeal raisin.

She would read her Bible each morning, and when my sister and I got to spend the night, she would always read Our Daily Bread with us before saying our prayers and tucking us in. Sometimes we would sing. Grandma had a beautiful voice. She was an alto, like me, and I was always amazed at how she could harmonize without missing a beat. I loved to hear her sing the hymns.

She loved to play games, and taught us how to play Flinch and dominoes. Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune were on every night, usually accompanied by a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

One night, we watched as she applied her cold cream, then wiped her face clean with a tissue. Then she put perfume on. Our curiousity peaked, my sister and I gave each other "a look". My sister had the gumption to ask why grandma had used the perfume. "In case I meet the man of my dreams!" she replied, a twinkle in her eye.

I still remember watching Grandma peel potatoes, each strand going into the plastic produce bag whose sides she had carefully rolled down. I do that too. And every time I peel potatoes, I think of her. Looking back, I can now see that Grandma had what most would call a "hard life". There was never quite enough money for her family of six, and Grandpa had high expectations of what his wife and home life should be.

Grandma had very little money; as a child I never thought about such things. I only knew that every Christmas, there was a gift for each of her nine grandchildren. Sometimes it was a pair of slippers, or a small purse or stuffed animal. Now I know that she must have saved and sacrificed to make sure we all had something under the tree every year.

Like most young adults, I never really took the time to talk to my Grandma about HER. It was always about me. Sometimes, I was so centered on myself that I didn't even want to spend time with my grandparents when there was something more fun going on with my friends. Now I know better. Now that I'm older, and see the value of family. Now that she's gone.

Merry Christmas Grandma. I wish I could call you up to get some advice on why I can't make your mock cheesecake come out just the way yours did. I wish I could ask how you managed to make such great meals on a small budget. I wish I could tell you that when I think of the most Godly woman I've ever known - it was you. You're celebrating Christmas with Jesus this year. I'll bet he's having the best oatmeal raisin cookies he's ever tasted.

To My Readers: I know this isn't a normal Sunshine SAHM post, but Grandma has been on my mind a lot lately. Probably because so much of my life is now mirroring what I remember of her - being at home, dealing with the cooking, cleaning, parenting, budgeting, cooking, and doing my best to try and serve the Lord.

The holidays are the one time of year where we usually see our extended family. If you are lucky enough to see your grandparents, great aunts, uncles or even a cousin that doesn't get into town very often, be sure to appreciate the time you have with them.

Luckily, my dad's mom is still here for me to talk to. She flew across the country to come see us after Mark was born. This time, I made sure to make the most of the opportunity. I asked her about her first husband, about what it was like to have to put her children in an orphanage, and working hard to get them back home. I heard about her brother who died in a plane crash, and discovered that my great grandparents toured the country in their RV. She was thrilled to share, and I was fascinated. Merry Christmas to you too Grandma, I love you.

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