5 years ago last week, my last grandparent passed away… my mom’s mother. My grandma celebrated 95 years on this earth. She was a mother to 10 kids, and a wife to the same man until his death in 2006. I don’t have as many young memories of my grandparents as my sisters do. They are 7 & 9 years older than me and were some of the first grandkids. They remember visits to the farm. I remember a few Christmases there. I remember one Christmas when my younger cousins threw hangers at me in the spare bedroom. My uncle came in to scold them & he was my hero from then on. I remember sleeping in my Crayons sleeping bag by the tree. I remember their big table full of people. I remember the upstairs where my mom and her siblings grew up. I remember the “creepy basement” where my uncles sometimes had fox furs from trapping. I remember that she had a drawer of goodies… candies, marshmallows, chocolate chips etc. It was a drawer the grandkids would sneak a treat from and she’d just wink. And her laugh. I’ll never forget her laugh.
After my grandpa passed away, we were sure she wouldn’t be far behind. They were soul mates. They were the kind of grandparents who held hands and smiled at each other with love. The kind of grandparents you would look at and say, “That’s what I want when I am older.” I want someone to help me up out of my chair, to make sure my favorite treat was in the house and to play cards with me and my widow lady friends. They had a tough life. They lived through the depression. They weren’t rich financially, but they were rich in love. Their family gatherings just kept growing, as more kids were married, added children of their own, and even grandkids. I have over 20 cousins, several of whom are married and have kids of their own. We have a reunion coming up, and we will have almost 90 people attending, and there are 35 who cannot make it.
I think it’s awesome when kids can think of their grandparents and smile. The things they will remember might surprise you. I remember my grandma’s chicken shaped cookie jar but I don’t remember the chickens. I remember her white, curly hair and her crochet angels. I remember when they moved to town and we would play cards in the basement. I remember their big freezer always had ice cream treats. I think of her often, and always with fondness. Even when she would tell goofy stories or not fully know who we were, she was still in there. It was more difficult to see her that way, but when I remember her, I remember the fun little things.
I hope it’s that same way for me someday. I hope someday I’ll have grandkids (but not for a while). I hope I’ll be goofy and fun and do the things I wished I would have done with my kids… play more games, eat dessert first, laugh more. Maybe they’ll remember my curly hair, or my treat drawer (just like my grandma Lil’s). On your journey of enough, I hope you have some warm memories to make you smile. I still can get my grandma’s laugh, 5 years after she passed. Hold onto the good memories. Listen in the silence for the laughter of your loved ones. They’d love to hear you laugh too!