Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grandma

Today is my grandma’s birthday. She passed away many years ago, and I’m always sad that our time together was so short. But, I remember her very fondly, especially today.
My grandma lived several states away from us, so going to see her was always a fun and exciting adventure.
I remember once we arrived at her house earlier than we expected. I ran up to her in the yard, and before I could say anything, she said, “I have a granddaughter that looks just like you!” I giggled and said, “It’s me, grandma!” She hugged me and said, "Well, bless your heart." My grandma had trouble seeing later in her life, so to this day, I’m not sure if she truly didn’t recognize me at first, or if she was just trying to make me laugh.
She had a huge collection of salt and pepper shakers in her dining room, displayed on several glass shelves. Every time we visited, I loved looking at them and admiring all the different shapes and sizes.
I inherited one set of her salt and pepper shakers, which I’ve displayed in the kitchen of every place I’ve lived. It’s one of my most treasured possessions. In fact, when we hosted the party for Husband’s (ahem) high-spirited military co-workers, the salt and pepper shaker set was the only thing that I thought was important enough to put in a safe place before the party.
I also inherited my grandma’s hair, or at least family members that have told me that my hair is a little bit wavy like my grandma’s. Even when I have a bad hair day (or decade), the one consolation is that I have something of my grandma.
My grandma is my kindred spirit, too. It just so happens that my grandma got married in a place thousands of miles away from her hometown before my grandfather went off to war. And coincidentally, I met Husband in that very same town, where neither of us are from, but happened to be at the time. And, Husband and I have almost an identical wedding anniversary as my grandparents: we got married the day after they did many years later.
I know my mom has expressed her appreciation over the years at how welcoming my grandma was when my mom married my dad. My mom was of a different religion from my grandma, and my grandma told her that there are many different paths to heaven.
I remember that she was always impeccably dressed, wearing a nice dress and jewelry every day, even if she wasn’t going anywhere special.
I remember that she liked watching Dallas. I wonder what she would be watching today.
She must have been an early riser. One time when she visited us, she was up and dressed, sitting quietly in our living room before everyone else. Except that she had accidentally set off the motion detector of our alarm system. I remember my parents frantically running around the house in their pajamas, trying to turn off the alarm that, by that point, was blaring outside throughout the neighborhood. “What’s going on?” she asked. She happened to be hard of hearing and had no idea that she had set off the alarm.
My grandma wore false teeth, and I was fascinated by her nighttime routine of taking them out. Before I was old enough to know what was impolite to say, I told her once after seeing her without teeth, “Grandma, you look like a frog!” Instead of being offended, she just laughed and squeezed me tight, saying, “I love you a million.”
To the woman who I love and admire, I wish her a happy birthday. I love you a million.


d.a.r. said...

This is so incredibly sweet. May she be celebrating well in heaven!

heartscribblings (formerly southeastcountrywife) said...

I enjoyed reading your memories; thanks for sharing! My nan died 6 or 7 years ago and I still miss her, having lots of memories!

Oh, and I have to say (while I remember in the middle of sickness and eventfulness), I got your Christmas card in the mail and you are a legend. I never expected one for a second. Thank you! :)

nanny said...

How sweet....Happy Birthday to Grandma!!
I love reading of your memories of grandma....
I have small items from my grandparents and they are so special.....