Happy Hump Day Folks 🙂 I’ve got to admit, deciding what to use each day is proving to be trickier than I thought, but I’ve commit to the task so getting it done! Day 4 is dedicated to my grandparents, in particular my paternal grandfather – see his picture beside ‘rockstar’ in the dictionary.
I’ve been fortunate in my life to have known all my grandparents, up to a reasonable age. It was always odd for me as a child to appreciate that some of my peers never knew their grandparents, having passed away before they really knew them, or even before they were born. It dawned on me later in life that both my grandparents and parents started their families when they were relatively young (early 20s), which is somewhat of a departure from my peers and myself starting in their 30s.
My mom’s parents passed away in my teenage years, and I’m grateful for the time I had with them and the lessons they taught me. They were some rather unique characters in the “I love you but I can’t live with you” sense. There was never an experience that did not have a story, an anecdote or some sort of ‘old people’ saying to go along with it. I blame Gramma Pinkie for my pathological fear of chicken feet – there is nothing like being chased around the house as a child by this little white-haired woman waving a monster claw (yes, a chicken foot is a monster claw, dammit!) that she had just pulled out of the pot. I remain forever traumatised – shut up, Frances. Granddad on the other hand was Mr Easy Going, although I understand he wasn’t always that way. His influence and rather unique collection of old books played a big part in my love for reading. His bookshelves introduced me to the wonders of the Odyssey, the trials of Caesar and the not-as-scary-as-it-should-have-been Jabberwocky. I chose to remember these memories with gratitude, but also those of both their last days. They were turning points in my life, and that of my family. Not only did it open my eyes to some of the not-so-pretty sides of human nature, but it gave me a true appreciation of what it means to truly ‘live’ before you die. My friends call me jaded in my approach to death – in my defence, I’ve buried enough family and friends in my relatively short time in this life to accept that it is simply the way of things, and life does indeed go on.
My father’s parents were often considered ‘my’ family, while mom’s parents were my sister’s. We’ve gotten over that but in our younger days, that’s just how it was. My Swedish grandmother is my kitchen inspiration, every single time. My mother laughs at me these days when I can’t get J to eat anything I give him, but she merely mentions food and he’s scarfing everything down. “You and your grandmother were JUST like that, he is so YOU!” – she gets entirely too much pleasure out of that sentence. The house I live in now is her house, and I feel her there with me quite often. Everytime I open a cupboard in the kitchen I can hear her voice. In the days when I was still an only child, I always had friends there to play. One afternoon she has so upset that no English would come out – we were making mud pies in the backyard, in her precious copper pots. Needless to say, those pots are well hidden from adventurous little hands, even now. If you’ve been here a while, you were here for her end. I miss her often, with her anniversary coming up in a few weeks, but she’s the kitchen angel on my shoulder – trust me, she was there for the Christmas baking last weekend as I cursed the recipe for the 3rd year in a row. You know a recipe is old when it calls for 5 sprinkles of cinnamon and 2 dashes of nutmeg, among other assorted calls for ‘eyeballing’ a measurement. Now, I’m a scientific kinda person – what the hell unit of measurement is a ‘dash’??!?!? I think I’ve figured it out, but I still curse under my breath every time, out of principle.
Now for the man of the moment, my grandfather. I must admit that my ability to speak to anyone and get along in any surrounding is all his influence. In my adult life it always amuses me when someone who knows him well notices a mannerism or something I’ve said and comments how much like him I am. Interestingly enough, J looks (he’s got the family hairline and ears 🙂 ) and moves just like him but I digress. Our relationship has grown in my adult life, and although he still calls me ‘young girl’ from time to time, of all my family he’s my biggest supporter in trying to navigate this adulthood/parenthood ‘thing’. From getting my financial house in order to my choices in men *cringe*, he’s always there with his incredibly practical advice. I’ve learned more about him, mostly from him, in the past 3 years than I have in my entire life. I’m grateful for the time I have with him and for all the lessons in life he continues to teach – he almost NEVER turns down an opportunity to head to the pool or the beach, complaining that he hasn’t gotten enough sun lately. I want to be like him when I grow up.
My fortune with grandparents continues, with his wife, who I am also immensely grateful for in my life. She’s an amazing woman that I am honoured to have in our lives. Her love and support is unconditional and never ending – I don’t tell her thank you enough. It’s not always been an easy road, but we’ve come this far together. Thank you, Shirls XO
So day 4 is all about my five grandparents and how grateful I am for every single one of them. Now go tell your grandparents, here or there, that you love them.