Yesterday started out like any other day and ended with my reflecting on a precious life that changed my own. Tonight I sit remembering Grandma Joyce. This woman loved me so much and in so many ways that I could write for hours and not stop coming up with new memories I have that involve her. I love to think that today she's looking at Matthew with the same adoring eyes that she looked at her other grandchildren and great grandchildren with. I know she will love him madly, just like she loved us.
When I think of grandma, these are the memories that flood my mind:
- Watching tv in her pink recliners like Golden Girls, The Dating Game and Love Connection
- The word search books she kept in the table between the pink recliners with grandpa's gall bladder or stones or something in a cup right next to them
- How annoyed she would get when grandpa would take his teeth out to show me, so we did it often just to drive her crazy
- So many sleepovers. Sleepovers with my cousins or with just the two of us. I was always welcome at her house. She claimed one night during a particularly noisy cousin sleepover that we'd better not make another sound because grandpa could hear a pin drop. I remember deeply contemplating in my silence whether she meant a pen or a pin, because there was a distinct difference in the noise level.
- Staying several nights in a row over spring break at her house with Cris and Chelsea. We'd go to the movies or the Japanese Gardens and always Mazzios Pizza
- Going to the theaters to see Ghostbusters and Honey I Shrunk the Kids
- Her big rectangle trampoline and slightly dirty but overly fun swimming pool
- When she got mad at us cousin, she'd call us idgits. I had no idea what that was but felt pretty sure she was calling us idiots
- Sitting in time out with my cousins and stationed in different spots all over the living room
- The toilets at her house with super sensitive pipes so we were limited to just a few squares of toilet paper
- She taught me about mixing suicide drinks with all the sodas she had
- She let me eat an entire box of Fruity Pebbles in a 24 hour period when my parents wouldn't buy sugar cereal
- Spending days at Aunt Vaneta's lake house and the time we got home late one night and realized that I had left my "bunny foo foo" there and she made grandpa drive back to Eastland to get it for me that night
- The frilly lace Easter baskets that she made each of us girls and made for Hayley and Mia as well
- Playing in the ditch in front of her house and balancing on the rocks around her circle driveway
- She would ALWAYS play a game with us if we asked. We played board games, card games, and dominoes. She was especially a chicken foot dominoes and Skip-Bo fan.
- She was a puzzle master. The summer before my senior year I got a James Dean puzzle in black and white for my birthday. It was way too overwhelming for me, so I brought it to her house one day over Christmas break and we put it together in one afternoon while watching Christmas movies the entire day. She ended up buying a puzzle glue and a frame for it so that I'd be sure to display it in my room.
- I spent probably 25 Thanksgivings at her house where her home was packed full of friends and family. The kids would rake giant leaf piles and spend the day jumping into them. The kids ate in the garage where there were rows of tables set up to accommodate all the guests.
- When my mom went to work, if I got sick at school, she was always available to pick me up and bring me to her house. I'd lay in her bed and watch the Jetsons and Judge Wapner's court until my mom could pick me up.
- She was one of the few grownups I knew who didn't make her bed every day. She told me it was because she'd just be sleeping in it later, so what was the point? I loved that outlook and have stuck with it in my life. :)
- Her favorite story to tell about me was about the day when I was born. She came into the hospital room to see me and I was crying. When she picked me up, I stopped crying and smiled at her. Especially near the end, she would tell me that story every time I saw her.
- Her shed that reeked of cat pee, but was still mysterious and exciting to go into
- Shooting off black cats and lady fingers on the 4th of July
- Riding shotgun on many Meals on Wheels deliveries
- Her humming made up tunes while driving around town in her big blue Cadillac
- Touring the Dublin Dr. Pepper factory
- She had a green lipstick that went on red and it blew my mind. She would let me wear it every time I was with her, digging through her purse.
- The God-awful perm she got me when my parents were on vacation. It's the worst perm in the history of ever and the only perm that stayed in my hair.
- How I'd call her when I was bored and she'd happily spend the next hour or more on the phone chatting about anything and everything and how if I was bored over the summer or on a weekend, I'd invite myself over to spend the night with her and she would never turn me away.
- Her patience in trying to teach me to sew on the sewing machine or crochet
- The poodle skirts she'd make me for 50s day and many dresses she made us
- The excitement she had for each of my pregnancies and her love for my babies
- The pride she felt in showing off her family. One year she insisted that we take Hayley to a costume party at the Senior Center. She showed her off like she was her own daughter. Hayley won a prize for the costume that grandma had made and she was bubbling over with joy.
As the years went by, she became more and more forgetful, calling me several times a week to ask me the same questions or tell me the same stories. Then she went through a time where she was delusional and had outlandish stories about who she was, where she was going or what she had done. These stories saddened me and amused me at the same time, but I preferred them over the next stage. She became very hard to understand and her memory was slipping. Until the end, she would make comments about how I was always getting into trouble and she'd say it with a gleam in her eye. She, too, got a glimmer of mischief in her eye when I was around like she was hoping we might find some trouble to get into together. Any time we visited, she lit up when we walked in the room, just like she did our whole lives.
That's how I will remember her, delighting in me when I found nothing to delight in. Cheering me on when I felt like there was not much to cheer for, supporting me and loving me unconditionally. I am so very blessed to have those memories of a grandmother who would do anything in the world for me.
I love you, grandma. Give Matthew a million kisses for me. Hug grandpa's neck extra hard for me. I have no doubt that you'll be one of the first faces I see when I join you in heaven some day.
Just some of the Easter baskets
Hayley's costume she made her
Just look at how she looks at these babies with such love