I apologize upfront for the poor photography skills I possess….
So as all of my reader’s know by now, I am blessed with a wonderful mother, stepmother and mother-in-law. (No lies. My step mother is not evil and many days I like my mother-in-law better than my husband, despite what Hollywood would have you believe.) And, to this point, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on the contributions of my mother’s mother, Gma Rae. You’ll recall that somehow, I am a very strong reflection of some of my grandma’s most well known traits. Namely, I am very outgoing, very loud and always right. (Or at the very least, always opinionated. And of course I say that in jest, because there were many wonderful qualities from my Gma that I do strive to possess.) Today, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on someone that I have not spent much time talking about, though I love her dearly. Today, I would like to think about my Grandma Marilyn. If it is fair to say that in many ways I mirror the personality of my Gma Rae, then it is also a fair assumption to say that I aspire to be much more like my Grandma Marilyn, but I’ll get to all that.
In my humble opinion, my Grandma Marilyn became a saint the very same moment that she became a mother. Her first child, my father, was a very large baby, born breech, before the days of epidurals. (I like to joke that he was trouble from the moment he tried to escape the womb.) Despite this brutal introduction to motherhood, she continued to have 5 more children, only one of which was a girl. (Which reminds me, Happy Mother’s Day Aunt Kelly!) You can imagine the havoc 6 children could reek, especially when 5 of 6 children are boys. And, it’s fair to say that these 5 were particularly rowdy boys. (I tease my father that all of his high school stories begin with a can of beer and end with a policeman.) Yet somehow, she stuck in there, through all their school shenanigans, marriages, divorces, remarriages, children… She mended broken hearts and broken bones and still had time to serve up some cookies.
My Grandma Marilyn was always the ruler that my father would suggest I measure up to. Anytime I was making a counter culture decision, (like getting a tattoo) he would caution, “what would Grandma think if she saw this?”. For the most part, I’m sure he was wise enough to use this caution because it absolutely worked for me. Of course I wanted to impress my Grandma Marilyn. She has a presence that is always relaxed and appropriate. She has a way of always looking presentable, well dressed and manicured, but never flashy or showy. She seems to intuitively understand both what is fashionable and how to wear clothing to suit a body properly, which is knowledge I am sorely lacking. She takes big situations very seriously but very lightly at the same time. She knows how to balance being concerned with just the right amount of humor, and so she is always good company. This is in stark contrast to my loud and sometimes garish demeanor, but I fancy that when I do nail an outfit or speak appropriately and impressively at an event that at those moments I making her (and inevitably my father) very proud. And making my her proud in turn makes me feel very proud.
In particular, of all of the things I wish I had been endowed from my Grandmother’s being, (besides feminine curves…) stands her incredible thoughtfulness. While before this blog I have missed nearly every birthday of everyone I care about every year of my life, my grandmother has been keeping Hallmark in business. My grandmother sends ALL of her loved ones (including but not limited to her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and various spouses) simple greeting cards with a handwritten note for every major occasion. Each holiday, we get 3 cards in the mail, one for Ryan and I, one for Jake and one for Ben. As long as I can remember, not only has she not ever missed a single birthday, she has never missed a Halloween, Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s day or Mother’s Day either. But don’t fear that she only remembers the anticipated holidays, because I assure you that her consideration extends well into other areas, such as graduations, births and sympathies. When my Gma Rae passed away last year, I was feeling very overwhelmed and very lost when I finally forced myself towards her casket. As I walked up, I had my eyes fixated on the most appealing rubber plant in the room, which had been embellished with beautiful pink carnations. The eye pleasing arrangement held my focus until I was finally brave enough to look to the casket and say my farewells… Imagine my surprise when after the funeral, I was given that particular arrangement to keep, because it had been sent by my Grandma Marilyn, and we were dividing the arrangements according to the interest of those sending them. Interestingly, this one example was a perfect illustration of both how my grandmother is very thoughtful and always knows how to make a perfect presentation. Even more comforting was getting her handwritten sympathy card in the mail when I returned back to my out of state home.
So, in closing, I just wanted to take a moment to honor my Grandma Marilyn. She has always been very good company, whether she was helping me pick strawberries and raspberries in her gardens, talking to me about my favorite jewelry or comforting me when I had lost a loved one. Each time I attempt to be eloquent, proper and well spoken I have looked to her as my inspiration.
Happy Mother’s Day everyone, and especially to my Grandma Marilyn.