Monday, June 30, 2008

Martha Jean Stephens

My grandmother died last week. She was 86 years old and had been in a nursing home for years. Although it was not unexpected it still hurt.

At the funeral on Friday the Chaplain invited anyone who wanted to come up and say a few words about grandma. I had no intention of speaking but somehow I felt moved to share my memories and found myself standing at the podium.

I really don't remember everything I said. I spoke through tears but I spoke from my heart.

It's only now, 3 days later, that I'm wishing I had said more. There are so many things I should have said, and would have said, had I been prepared.

And I'd like to say them here.

Thank you grandma for the purple satin hat you kept in a "dress up" box when I was young. I loved that hat and have more than a couple of pictures of me wearing it.

Thank you for saving your McCall's magazine so I could cut out the Betsey McCall paper doll every month.

Thank you for waffle cookies in the tin stored in the oven. And for homemade noodles drying on newspaper on the kitchen table.

Thank you for Christmas Eve's at your house with pork tenderloins and pickled eggs. Thank you for letting me ring that little bell you kept on the Christmas tree and for giving me that bell when grandpa died. It's the most precious ornament on my tree every year.

Thank you for letting me "help" you wash the dishes when I was young. You had that sprayer attachment on your sink and I loved rinsing the dishes with it. I remember mom telling me to be careful and you saying "oh, she's fine". I wonder now how many times you had to change your clothes after I helped.

Thank you for teaching me to play cards and for teaching me how to win. Thank you for sharing your love of the Chicago Cubs with my sons. Although Ben wishes you would have picked a team with a better record of wins!

Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Every child should have someone love them the way you did. And thank you for loving grandpa. We all know how much you missed him after he died.

And that's where I'm finding peace. Knowing you are with grandpa now. And all your sisters and brother and parents and grandparents. And that I'll see you again someday.

Goodbye grandma...I'll miss you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A New Milestone

Both of my boys are now teenagers and closer to leaving home than I like. Ben will be a senior this year and Andy will be a sophomore.

Looking back I can remember every milestone they reached: first word, first tooth, first step, first day of school. And the truly glorious ones of learning to tie their own shoes, potty training and the ability to dress themselves!

As they've gotten older the milestones are not so life changing but they still mark the passing of time. First day of high school, first prom, first job and the first time they drive away in the car by themselves.

Today a new milestone was passed for Andy. Today he got his learners permit. And I was driven home from the license branch by my 15 year old for the first time.

One more milestone for both of us to face. My baby is growing up and getting closer to stepping out on his own. I hope we are both ready.

There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings.
-William Hodding Carter, Jr.