Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Grandma is...

...love and hugs and kisses and smiles and warmth.  A grandma is strength and softness and kindness and praise.  A grandma is a gift.  My grandma came to visit this past weekend.  It isn't often that I get to see her anymore.  You see, she can't drive these days and relies on those around her to get her where she needs to go.  I'd be that someone, but she lives in Chicago, and well, I don't.  Just like the rest of us, grandma is getting older.  I think the hardest part about seeing her so sporadically is that in my mind's eye she is still 50 years old and healthy as can be. When I was younger she used to live next door, this is where I spent most of my time.  I probably still would if she were closer. But I digress...

Grandma used to have a sewing room.  I was never destined to be a seamstress like she was, but how I loved to tinker with the scraps she left behind.  I can remember one fine day, in 7th grade, where I was bound and determined to make my own dress, without a pattern no-less.  I had to clean grandma's house for her to buy me a plain t-shirt (which would be the top of the dress).  Of course, in all my innocent glory, I wanted white!  Anyway, I got the t-shirt and carefully sorted through all her fabric for the exact color and pattern that I wanted to turn into the skirt of the dress.  Grandma had 3 cabinets full of bolts ranging in different colors, patterns, and material.  I can't remember now exactly which material I chose, but I know I spent hours turning it into a ruffled skirt, attaching it to the hem of the t-shirt, and covering the seam with a wide ribbon.  I was so proud of this and grandma, being the ever loving person she was, complimented me on my endeavors.  I got made fun of at school the next day and never wore it again. 

Grandma also used to spoil me relentlessly.  I knew this, so did everyone else.  Some would say I was her favorite, but she and I know better.  In fact, we all were.  When we were all younger, my cousin and I used to play dress up in grandma's clothes.  Grandma ALWAYS had the coolest clothes, for an old person that is.  No, seriously, she used to be really up on fashion, now she leans toward comfort.  Anyway, my cousin and I would spend so much time carefully dressing up, putting on grandma's jewelery and make-up, and styling our hair.  (All of this in the full glory of all the fashion the 80's had to offer.) Then when we were all done we would put on a fashion show.  No matter how many times we paraded in front of her in all that fancy stuff no one ever came out the victor.  It took me a long time to realize that grandma was making our numbers equal by giving us different scores in all the categories.  I would score higher on originality, my cousin on poise, or vice versa, but grandma always made them add up to the same value.  I guess grandma never had a favorite, she still doesn't, and when she can get our names straight she will tell us so.

Grandma taught me one of the biggest lessons of my young life too; never ask for something you aren't sure you want the answer to.  I can't remember what Christmas it was, but I know it was the year I got a Caboodles.  You see, I asked her relentlessly for clues as to what I was getting.  I begged and pleaded, I even offered to do chores for her in exchange for the clues.  I never-gave-up!  NEVER!  Finally, I broke her down, or so I thought!  She gave me the clues alright, and I guessed them...which made me feel pretty darn smart, but after that I was bummed.  I mean, I already knew what I was getting.  Once I felt remorse set in I couldn't tell her, after all, she was right.  But my lesson didn't stop there.  No, then grandma made me wrap the entire family's Christmas presents, including my own.  The lesson, I got to know what everyone was getting so that I could keep that secret, but also not get to share in their surprise.  Oh, and she also had me wrap the one present I didn't guess.  To this day, I don't even like to tell people what I want.  I don't even want to have an inkling of what I may receive.  I want a surprise and I want to know that they have listened as I hinted throughout the year or know me enough to get me something that is special just to me.  After all, grandma always did.

I have so many stories about grandma that I think I could write a novel.  I remember the smell of her favorite perfume, Vanderbuilt.  I can remember how we watched Knot's Landing and Golden Girls together.  I can remember how she would always make me mint tea and coffee, caffeine free of course!  I remember that no matter where she went, I was never more than a step behind.  I have been so blessed to have someone that special in my life.  She has been the best grandma in the world, and I know without a doubt in my heart, that God made her just for me.

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