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A #GrandmaProject Tale

I remember her smile of delight when I burst through the door.

grandkids

Breakfast at Grandma’s.

When I was a little girl, I would go to visit my Grandma, who lived a few blocks away. In my mind, I can still see her smile of delight when I would burst through her door. As we both got older, I can remember opening the door and if she wasn’t in her chair, I’d call out to her. She’d answer that she was coming. I could hear her in the other room fighting pain to get up, but by the time I could see her, her smile of welcome was in place. Her arm extended (the other hand gripped her cane) to me for an enveloping hug. 

It was the same with my Grandma in the next town (yes, they were both Grandma. We knew the difference. Lol). We would burst through her door and her face would light up in her special smile of welcome. Her arms extended for hugs and kisses, no matter how old we were. My last memory of her was on her birthday. Her mind was fading, but she knew me, even if she didn’t exactly know who I was. Her smile bloomed, her arms went out to hug and kiss. 

I treasure both memories of my grandmothers (I don’t write much about my grandfathers, because one passed when my mom was five, the other passed when I was about eight). Even now, I can feel their arms and remember how they both smelled—one grandma of powder and the other of the bread she was usually baking. 

Both homes were places where I knew I was welcome because I was loved. Both homes wrapped me in a hug that started with their smiles and continued with inquiries into how I was doing, what was happening, how I was.

grandson

“I heard about you!”

The past two weeks, I had the wonderful blessing of being the grandma. Of hearing the sounds of happy grandkids voices as they spilled out of the van and raced toward my door. Of going to meet and greet them with what I hope was that smile, that welcome, that love. 

There are a lot of my family traditions that I haven’t been able to pass on to my children, for a variety of reasons (many geographic), but I hope that I am passing on the love I felt from parents and grandparents. I hope my kids and grandkids always know that where I am, they are welcomed and loved. 

Do you have a special memory of a person and a place?

Perilously yours,

Pauline

2 Comments

  1. Nancy Kay Bowden says:

    I have special memories for each of my grandmas too. I called both of them “Mamie” which was 100% original (for our family.) Might have been inspired by Mamie Eisenhower somehow. She was a grandma too. Maybe I was tuned into politics at the ripe age of 2?
    One Mamie lived nearby. My most cherished memory of her was being illuminated by our headlights as she “chased” our car as we backed down my grandparents’ long gravel driveway to go home. She’d be silly and we’d be laughing. I also remember I was too old to enjoy it when she also was probably too achy to “chase” us anymore.
    The other Mamie we saw only once a year in the summer. She made a point each visit of showing me all the antiques that had been passed down to her and telling all the stories that went with them because she knew I was the only person in the family who cared. She wanted to make sure I could pass down the stories. Sadly, when she went to heaven, my parents only saved me a few dishes and mixing bowls, and a box of (really wonderful old) letters. My parents sold her house with all its contents to a guy who refurbished houses and sold antiques.
    I’m finding myself out at the car making faces at my grandkids through the car windows—making them laugh when they leave. I read and make opportunities for them to create things. We walk around the house and I tell them the stories about the day I took “that” photo of their mom and her siblings.
    It’s such a joy to be a grandma. I love, love, love it!

    1. I love your stories, Nancy. Like you, I am trying to build happy grandma memories and I love, love, love it!

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