Sunday, December 19, 2010

Grandparents

I am missing my grandparents today. My mom's mom, who loved to crochet doilies and baby dresses. We used to go to her house on Saturday nights and watch the Lawrence Welk Show and Hee-Haw. I would lay on the royal blue carpet with my sisters and we would draw pictures in the carpet with our fingers, using the nap of the fibers. Hers was a tiny house, in a quiet neighborhood, where the alleys ran behind the houses and the front yards just had sidewalks between them, no busy roads. We would play in front and in back, and suck the nectar out of her honeysuckles when they were in bloom. She always made us red Kool-Aid and my favorite treat at her house was a slice of white bread with butter and white sugar on it.

She had a cuckoo clock in her kitchen. I loved the smell of her house. She died not too many years after we moved to Kansas. She was born and raised here, and only moved away after she married my grandfather, whom I never knew. He died when my mom was a teenager. She told me once that before she ever saw an ocean, that people were always telling her how incredible it was. When she finally saw it, she said, "It was beautiful all right, but it still couldn't compare to the sight of a breeze blowing across a field of golden wheat." I think she was always a Kansan at heart. It makes me feel like I belong here too.

My dad's mom, who taught me how to crochet my first afghans. When I was little they lived in a giant (to me, anyway) house with a huge yard. Grandpa always had a garden in back. And apple trees. And pie cherry trees in the front yard. Two big rock pillars stood on either side of the driveway, amd my cousins and I used to try to climb up them and sit on them. I wasn't usually successful. My uncle, who is only 8 years older than me, would chase us all around the yard and play games with us. My grandmother always had time for the grandkids. She kept a stash of awesome toys and we always got all the hugs we wanted (and sometimes more!). When I think of my grandfather, I think of his capable hands. They were rough from all the hard work he did, but they were always gentle too. And the family meals. Oh, how delicious they were.

After we moved to California and I was a teenager, we sometimes went back to Utah for Thanksgiving. The family was so big by that time, that we often had our meal at the church down the street from my grandparents' house. They had moved to a smaller, newer house by this time, but Grandpa still had his garden and fruit trees and Grandma still had all our favorite toys. Thanksgiving meals were always crazy fun. All my cousins (I am the oldest of 22 grandkids) would be there (usually) and we'd play basketball in the gym, or football in the snow.

5Generations.jpg

This is a five-generation picture of my oldest son Evan, me, my dad, his mom and her mom.

My grandpa died just a few months after I moved back to the states from Germany. My grandmother died just a few years ago, several months after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. I got to spend a week with her just a month before she died. It was an incredible week and she taught me so much in those few days. After Grandpa died, I would go back to Utah in the summers for events at BYU, and I would always make a few days to spend with Grandma while I was there. We would sit up until the wee hours talking and giggling like little girls. Occasionally we even drew scoldings from my aunt, who lived in the house my grandma's apartment was attached to. She told me about beng the oldest of five children (I am too). She talked to me about what it was like to live during the war (World War II) with two small children. We baked muffins. She never learned to drive, so I took her to the beauty shop for her hair appointments. She was always my cheerleader.

I am so blessed to have been born of goodly grandparents. What a blessing they have been to me. How I lookd forward to seeing them again someday.