Little Grandma, Big Memories

My maternal grandmother would have celebrated her 101st birthday this month. I think about how much joy my girls would have brought her and how much love she would have showered on them. She died, however, the year before I got pregnant with my first daughter.

My little grandma was short in stature, less than five feet tall, but big on personality. She loved her dogs, drinking Diet Pepsi, reading romance novels, and spending the days in her sewing room. She always called me “honey” and she taught me the joy of hunting for four-leaf clovers and pressing them between wax paper and placing them within the pages of my chilrens Bible. She was ever so proud of her beautiful backyard rose garden and she never failed to have a rose in a vase in the kitchen and candy orange slices in a candy dish on her coffee table. She’d hold me tight and rock me when I was little and sing “Go Tell Aunt Rhodie.”

When I went away to college she was diligent about sending me cards, just because, and she’d always stick a $10 bill inside (for gas money or groceries, she’d write) and she’d sign the cards “I Love You, Grandma” with pencil in her distinct cursive writing.

She made handmade outfits for my Barbie dolls and sewed my first tooth fairy pillow from yellow and white gingham material. When my beloved stuffed Snoopy had seen better days, she cleverly fashioned a pink “collar” for him from an old belt. She quilted for as long as I can remember and lovingly made baby quilts for her grandchildren, even for me and my brother who were single at the time. She wanted to pack the baby quilts away for great grandbabies that hadn’t even been born yet because arthritis was slowly crippling her hands. That’s just the kind of grandma she was.

Today when there is a chill in the air and my girls need an extra blanket to sleep under I find myself reaching for the quilts my grandmother carefully hand stitched years ago. I have her candy dish that she always kept on her coffee table and a big jar of buttons from her sewing room. These physical reminders of her are treasured mementos and remind me of spending time with her. I make sure to tell my children about the legacy of their grandmother and the history of these treasures and the love she had for them, even before they were born.

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