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Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Sunday was Mothers Day.
For that occasion, I intended to add my voice to the host celebrating motherhood.

Monday, my grandma would have been 80.
For that occasion, I intended to write up some of my favorite memories of her.

On both occasions, I failed in my intentions. Something else came up. Sunday, I believe that something was Storage Wars. Monday, I know that something was falling asleep next to my daughter while protecting her from a big, bad thunderstorm.

At any rate, I attempt now - to multitask. It isn't a stretch. After all, most often, when I think of my grandma now, it's in the context of wishing she could be here to see my daughter. Or, wishing my daughter could meet my grandma.

Here are the things I think my daughter would love most about my grandma:

  • Her smile. It was tremendous. Radiant. Infectious. I don't remember ever being sad around my grandma.  Sorry, I have no pictures to share online - they're all tucked in old albums. :)
  • Her tolerance. Throughout her life, no one was unwelcome. No, not just that - everyone was welcome. My grandma was born & raised, lived & died in rural Nebraska, with very little exposure to people not of European descent. Yet, she never seemed to have one thought prejudging anyone.
  • Her strength. My grandma lived with severe arthritis her whole life. She survived breast cancer. She lived her last several years with Alzheimer's Disease. So much for one woman. She could have become bitter. But she never did. I never once heard her complain. Her life was beautiful. 
  • Her love. My daughter does know my grandpa. If she gets to know him long enough, she'll know how much he & my grandma loved each other. Their love is and was an inspiration to me, and (I can only assume) to everyone who knew them.
My best memories of my grandma happened around their kitchen table. When my brother & I were younger, we'd stay at their farm for weekends or sometimes a week over summer or Christmas break. We'd stay up past our bedtimes, drink too much pop (that's Nebraska for soda), eat too much junk, and play cards - lots of cards. Lots. 
Years later, I stayed with grandma & grandpa while I worked on the 2000 campaign, just across the river in Iowa. We had more times around the kitchen table. This time, I got to have my very own beer. We didn't play cards. We just chatted. And that's how I know. 
I know that even the Alzheimer's didn't change who she was. She still smiled. She was tolerant & strong. And she loved. And she is loved.

She would love my daughter. And my daughter would love her.

Here are the things I think my grandma would love most about her great-granddaughter:
  • Her smile. It too is infectious. It gets you even when you're trying to tell her to stop doing what she thinks is so funny. Because it's usually funny. Also, I think Grandma would say out loud what I know my mom thinks -- "Serves you right. You were always an ornery little thing."
  • Her imagination. My daughter can have full conversations with non-humans. Not just the dog, or a dolly or a stuffed animal. But her sippy cups. Bugs. Or the sun. -- "No, no, sun! Get outta my eyes!"
  • Her smarts. My daughter charms everyone she meets my using complete sentences in that little girl voice. -- Most commonly, "I need to watch Diego." (She has not quite mastered "need" v. "want" - but then, neither have I.)
  • Her love. She loves me, her daddy, her doggie. Unconditionally. When I loose my temper just a little? (In the latter half of an hour bedtime, for example.) All's forgiven. When daddy can't retrieve a balloon that's already floated well above the house? He's still her hero. When the dog knocks her on her butt with his rudder of a tail? He still gets kisses big enough to leave her a mouthful of fur. She loves my mom, my dad, her teachers, her cousins, my grandpa.
My best memories of my daughter are happening now. (Not right now. She's in bed, and I'm blogging. Silly.) 
I hope that she will always be who she is. That nothing will change her smile, her imagination, or her smarts. I hope that she will always love. I know that she will always be loved.

She would love my grandma. And my grandma would love her.

Here are some people whose love they share. To name a few. :)

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