I knew I hadn't posted in a while, but it was longer than I had thought when I checked my blog on Saturday. I haven't even been on the computer much lately, but I have thought about this little community in my absence.
Do you ever have those moments where you feel a mix of gratitude and sadness, wholeness and faith, knowledge with comfort?
I have been reflecting a lot the past couple of weeks on aging and family ties and how grateful I am for my roots.
The last of my blood-grandparents alive are my mother's mother, an almost-92-year-old white-haired, soft-faced, beautiful, slender and cultured woman. The other is my father's father, an almost-84-year-old hard-working, white-haired, country dance caller, pinochle-player and storyteller extraordinaire. My father's mother passed away the year before I was born, but my grandpa remarried my Grandma Mary, who I love dearly and has been the only grandma I have ever known on that side of the family.
A couple of weeks ago, the boys and I went to the track to go running and then headed up to my grandma's house to visit her. As we arrived, she was just finishing making tuna sandwiches for us for lunch. I had to smile as I walked in the door because tuna sandwiches will always remind me of her. She is the one that introduced me to tuna with apples and cheese mixed in. (If that doesn't sound delicious, just try it!)
We talked about various things and after a bit of time, we went into a back room where the boys had opened a cupboard that had my grandpa's life story books in there. My copy has been lost, and I asked her if I might get another one. She gave me another copy of his story, and also a copy of her life story book that was just finished a few years back. I didn't know this had been done, and she didn't have as many copies made.
What a treasure. I looked through so many photographs in the book, old letters that had been reproduced -- family correspondence, church correspondence, programs, thoughts, quotes, etc. All of this was mingled with her own recollections of her life. I got caught up in looking at this book and my grandma had taken my boys down the hallway and was entertaining them on her own. I got a few quiet minutes to peruse and started feeling very nostalgic. I love old things -- the time tested wisdom, the good and the bad of the years so you can see the growth and change and maturity, old photographs, old stories, old songs...you name it.
As we said goodbye that day, I got choked up when I was driving away. My grandma had walked us out to the car, and stood there until we were on our way out of the parking lot. I couldn't help but think about all the memories through the years with her that are so precious to me. Tuna sandwiches and pinochle games with licorice, popcorn, coke and fudgesicles. Nights of watching "Murder, She Wrote" (a special treat since I was raised without a tv) and "Support Your Local Sheriff." Birthday parties and weddings and water aerobics. Listening to her distinctive laugh and loving the marked space between her two front teeth. Admiring her stylish appearance, even now, and hoping that I could be like that. Handwritten cards and letters, with one in particular that I will forever cherish where she wrote her feelings about her faith for me personally.
I was thinking about how, as a child, you hear your parents talk about their grandparents. It is a joy to me to sit and hear these stories, and laugh and cry as I can start to feel connected to those that have gone before. But it seems like that time for you is so far off.
But here I am.
I have two beautiful, very young children of my own. And the simple fact of the matter is that these dear ones to me will pass on before they are very old. And I will be trying to tell them about people that have been incredibly special to me. How can I possible convey the joy and warmth, the hours of love I have spent in their company?
Then, just this last week, we traveled to Boise to visit my grandpa and grandma. It was a lovely time. I love being in their home. My grandma can make such delicious food and fusses over you until you feel like a spoiled baby. It is heaven. We enjoyed long conversations, good food, a pinochle game, and music together. My grandpa's health isn't very good, and again, while I was there, and driving home, I found myself reflecting on precious time that I have with these people that are so dear to me.
It made me so grateful for good parents. For a fun childhood. For wonderful sisters. For an honorable name. For a foundation of faith and values.
For big shoes to try and fill.
Pics from Boise
Playing at the park
Four generation shot
Family shot with grandparents
My boys asleep in the car on the way home