Hubby and I are in Montana for a quick weekend as we remember my grandma Myra at a memorial service. I have the chance this afternoon to share a few thoughts about my grandmother so I thought I would share them on here as well so when I look back someday, and I long ago lost the paper I wrote this on, I will be able to find a few memories about this dear woman.
In sitting down to write this, I really struggled with what to say. Grandma has been one of the most important people in my life and with a few moments before you to remember and commemorate her I obviously wanted to write something special that encompassed everything I felt about her. That turned out to be a bigger task than I thought so I thought I would share some of my favorite things about her and a few of the life lessons she taught me.
One – have a sense of humor! She always said “a good laugh is good for the heart.” As grandma aged my own mom would warn my siblings and I that we needed to be more careful about the type of pranks we pulled on grandma just to solicit a laugh (or a scream), but grandma was always good natured about our pranks and tried equally as hard to get a laugh or two from us. I will forever remember visiting Grandma and Grandma in their home in Arlee and using a rubber band to secure the handle of the sink spray nozzle down so that when grandma turned on the water it automatically sprayed her. More often than not we would use the element of surprise to announce our presence and grandma more often than not would shriek in surprise.
Two – play cards. Well, the lesson here may not be about playing cards, but I think there is value in what this represented to me. Playing cards with grandma was a given whenever she visited Arizona or we visited Montana. It represented something that we could spend time doing with her, and since we grew up a thousand miles away, spending time with her became one of the most special things we could do because time was always limited. This time was about more than just passing the time but it was about making memories for me. We laughed, we gave each other a hard time about who was crowing when they were winning one moment and fuming the next when they were losing, we learned about sticking with a decision because “the board was the play,” and most importantly it was about learning to talk to and have conversations with those you loved. I’ll forever miss being able to watch my grandma “shuffle up the buffalo” but hope this becomes a tradition in my own family that becomes just as special as it was to me.
Three – add a little variety to life. At 89 years old, grandma was never afraid to try something new or buy something just a little different because she wanted to try it out. This is representative of a life-long trend. Grandma was so full of spunk and I loved the vigor she attacked life with. Whether this meant wearing bright colors, or trying to make a whirly gig because she’s always loved them, or cutting her hair into a short, spiky “do” that required less work, I will long admire the color and spunk she brought to all of our lives. She wasn’t afraid to go after what she wanted and was forever encouraging me to have a little fun and try something new. More often than not this would center on the new concoctions I was trying in my kitchen, but this lesson is transferrable to all areas of our lives. I appreciate her independent, “try new things” spirit and hope that I can go about life with the same tenacity she had, even in her younger days when this meant going to work in the airplane factories during the war so she could earn money to pay her way through nursing school.
Fourth and final – indulge, do something you enjoy every day. Many of you will smile remembering how much grandma loved a little vino at 5 o’clock everyday, or in some cases maybe 4:30 because it was five o’clock back home. As a kid growing up my grandma seemed to be the only person I knew that drank wine and she seemed awful glamorous to me doing it. Reflecting on this daily habit, it seemed to me that grandma knew a thing or two and I need to remember to take time each day to relax and indulge in something that I enjoy.
My list could go on and on, and I’m sure if we compared our lists of some of our favorite things about grandma we might have a few similar things but also a few different. I hope that in remembering her today, we will all take a moment to remember the smiles she brought us in the different seasons of our life and how much life her little body contained. Grandma – I will miss our ritual Sunday afternoon phone chats and the chance to share something sweet with our first cup of coffee when we came to visit, but I am so glad that you’re in a better place now and look forward to playing that first round of cards when I come and join you in heaven one day.