This woman has more of my heart than I think she knows. Because of her, my childhood was filled with love and laughter and special times. As an adult, I realize that there’s a lot of family “ish”, as my best-friend so politely puts it. I like “ish”. I don’t see, my grandmother as much as I like – or more importantly, as much as I should.
I want you to know her like I know her. She has this heart for her family, what grandmother doesn’t. We call her various forms of Grandmother… lovingly “Mimi” is what sticks with most of us “kids”. By kids, I mean my cousins and brother… and we are much too old to be considered “kids”. My kids and the cousin’s kids also call her “Mimi”. She’s “Grammy” to me.
She’s the lady with the pecan sandies at the kitchen table; sun shining through the window warming the breakfast table she still has today. She’s the lady with the Christmas presents tied with red yarn. She’s the lady that is always ready for a “squeeze” and kisses. She is a lady I hope I grow up to be.
My Grammy married to my “Papa” for 50+ years until his passing too many, short, years ago. Right now their wedding picture flashes in my mind; she looked like a movie star. They were this staple on holidays that I miss to this day. I don’t know the stories of the “rocky moments”; grandchildren should be spared those anyway. All I know is the “rocky moments” existed. Being married that many years there is bound to be those moments. I know they raised my dad and his three beautiful sister’s well.
My Grammy, I won’t share her age… she wouldn’t like that… amazes me, simply put. She is the lady that doesn’t have much but gives all she has… to me, to my kids and then when I think she can’t possibly do more – she does.
She has toys sitting in my Papa’s Den waiting to be played with… sitting quietly for the small hands of the great-grandchildren. She’s always has bracelets waiting in a box on her coffee table for the great-granddaughters and the old farm toy we used to play with as kids ready for the boys.
There’s always a zip lock baggie waiting for my kids to go home… the one that is filled with donuts, too much chocolate and gold fish. Sometimes there are gifts my kids don’t need… but always a kiss and a squeeze.
Are you wondering where the Jewelry is?
My Grammy loves, loves, loves her Jewelry. I capitalize Jewelry for a reason, it “lies in state” in her bedroom – it’s an impressive collection the Queen “Mum” would marvel over – it does not, however, contain crown jewels of sapphires, diamonds and precious gems – I am sure there are some but for the most part it’s Indian in nature, silver, turquois, coral and other “rocks”. Over the years I’ve “inherited” (early) pieces of hers…
Recently I was given the privilege to go through her boxes with her and pick out several pieces. Pieces I remember her wearing… “Favorites” of the day. Pieces she would take off and let me wear growing up, pieces that obviously didn’t fit – but none-the-less fun to try on. This moment with her, I will never forget. This conversation and laughter that went back and forth, the names of the artists of these pieces, names I will never remember but she sure does – like they are old friends. These pieces have remained in the boxes and bags she gave me, until the beginning of this year.
Before I proceed… I would like to say these pieces of jewelry are not me. They are her. As was the case when I was a child trying them on, the silver cuffs are hard to go on and awkwardly fit on my wrists. The necklaces of stone beads cut too close to my neck and never will look on me as amazing as they did on her. The long slender rings fit and graze over my knuckles. I am awkward in her jewelry, no evidence of the self-assured person I usually am remains.
All of that brings me to this year… This year feels new to me somehow, refreshed, a new day. This writing is new; the need to write down these moments and stories is new, unassured -- awkward.
The boxes that remained closed and the bags that were unopened for safe keeping are now opened. Every morning I “play dress-up” and “try-on” my grandmothers jewelry.
The stones are hard and polished; they remind me of her grace and strength. The silver cuff that hurts to put on, that cuts in, somehow reminds me that a beautiful life in this world hurts sometimes. The necklace around my neck, which lies uncomfortably close to each breath, reminds me to take that next one.
So completely out of my comfort zone, I put on each piece. I match it with some of mine --- to make this new look, me. With each one I am feeling grace, strength and beauty. I am reminded of the love I come from.
I am maybe… I’m finding my own.