Friday, March 25, 2016

#SOL16 Day 25 The Gift of a Grandma



Dear Grandma, 

Happy 90th Birthday, your first in Heaven. If you were still here with us, we would surely be having a special celebration Friday and this weekend. Sometimes I still can't believe you are gone. I still think of you in your cozy house, sitting in your pink rocking chair facing the afternoon sun, listening to the radio. Or sitting on your front porch in  your white rocker, or talking on the phone to Mom or Judy, or cooking sauce in the kitchen. Sometimes I still want to pick up the phone and dial that familiar number that I dialed for years, hear your "Hiya Kath" at the other end of the line. 

It's your birthday, and this year there is no pocketbook to buy for you, or spring nightgown, or nails and toes gift certificate. There are no birthday cards to write out. Yet I still feel like I want to give you a gift. My gift will be to thank you for all the gifts you gave to me in the 36 years and change that we knew each other. 

Thank you for the gift of my mother. You and Grandy raised a kind, generous, fun, intelligent daughter. Your example helped her grow and she become the most supportive and loving mother, and now an exceedingly patient Naya to her three grandchildren. Watching the relationship between you two taught me about the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters. Even in the last days of your life, my mother was able to be with you with love and devotion, making those final days as peaceful and comforting as possible. 

Thank you for the gift of story. You used to tell Christine and I made up tales of "Good Gertie", "Bad Betsy" and "Sweet Sally." Those stories you shared inspired us to try to write our own versions! Well, Christine did that and I wanted to be just like her, too, so I started writing my own picture books about the adventures of Gertie, Betsy and Sally. As I got older, I loved hearing you tell stories from when you were growing up, a teenager, when you met Grandy, your early days as a young mom, and what life was like when you moved to Tennessee.  

Thank you for the "hotel" sleepovers, the dinners out and the dinners you made me every Wednesday when I was a new (exhausted) teacher. You always made my favorite salad, with feta cheese and little cranberries, and then the rest of the dinner would be completely delicious too. Pork chops, sauerkraut, and apples; orzos, feta and peas; shrimp and pasta....each week was better than the last. Cozy time on your couch with "The Match Game" reruns or "Seinfeld" reruns passed the time and was so relaxing and restorative. You always packed up leftovers for me, and in time, for Mike, too. 

Thank you for listening, always listening, and offering wisdom when I needed it. Thank you for always, resolutely, being on my side. Thank you for all the laughs. Thank you for being a loving and adoring "GG" to Will, Alex, and Megan, rocking them on your chair and singing, "Let's all sing like the birdies sing...tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet" when they were little babies.  Thank you for your positive outlook, for carrying on, for making holidays and Sunday dinners special with your fussing and your cooking and your love for all of us. 

Grandma, you were such a gift to me. Such a strong, loving presence my whole life through. Thinking of you now, is like thinking of a warm hug. You were cups of tea and cookies to me, chicken soup for my soul. You were adorable musical Christmas teddy bears, placed lovingly on my Christmas tree. You gave me so many gifts through the years that meant so much, but you, yourself, were the greatest gift. 

I miss you so. I hope you are surrounded by light and love.

Happy Birthday, my Grandma.