grandmother

Letter to My Future Grandchild (Letter Challenge #2)

Here is letter 2 of 10 in Jenny In Neverland‘s letter writing challenge. Technically I am taking liberties with this week’s topic. The subject is actually “Letter to your children or future children” (see Jenny’s sweet post here: Letter Challenge #2). I have children, 3 to be exact. They are all in the present and there will be no more in the future. Of my 3 children, 2 are adults. I could write them a letter, and I think they’d love it. However, I’ve been sharing my stories and wisdom (for what it’s worth) with them since they were born. It’s time to reach the next generation. Grandbaby #1 is due this November. This letter is for him/her.

***************

Hey Lil’ Thumper!

It’s your Gigi, aka “fun grandma”. So why is Gigi calling you “Thumper”? Well, because it’s better than “Nugget”. See, we won’t find out until this Friday, June 27, 2014 whether you are a boy or a girl. When I first learned that you were coming, rather than say “he/she”, I referred to you as Nugget. A few weeks ago, your Mom and Dad let me crash one of your doctor’s appointments. I got to hear your heartbeat. I decided you sounded more like a Thumper than a Nugget. Gigi is a little silly, but by the time you can read this, you will already know that.

Lucky for you, little one, I learned how to be a grandma from the best. Both my Minga and my Grandma, your great-great grandmas, were excellent role models. I will take my favorite things from childhood and pass them on to you. I was never much of a breakfast eater, unless I was at my Minga’s house. She always had the good stuff. Even better, she would make me anything I wanted. Yep, whatever I chose for breakfast, that’s what we would all eat. It wasn’t like at home where you have to eat whatever Mom & Dad put in front of you. She was really good at back rubs too. We watched Tigers Baseball and I would tell her “tickle my back”, then “scratch my back”, and finally, “rub my back”. There is a proper order to these things, not many people know that. Good thing I had Minga and you have me.

My Grandma was “crumby”. No, I’m not being mean. After a long day of making candy, Grandma and I would climb into bed with arms full of cookies and crackers to watch TV. She was just as messy an eater as I was. By the time we finished our snacks, the bed would be full of crumbs. Grandma would tease and say, “you’re such a crumby grandkid.” In turn I would tell her, “you’re a crumby grandma!” I can’t wait to watch movies in bed with MY crumby grandkid! I hope one day you have siblings and/or cousins that can join us for sleepovers too. Just like my sister and I did, we will lay in bed and take turns making up stories. Your great-aunt Carly always threw some storyline involving poop in there. Grandma was cool so she didn’t get in trouble. We would just laugh and laugh. I can’t wait to hear the sound of your laughter!

When I think of the fun and joy you will bring into my life one day soon, I get a little teary eyed. Don’t think much of it. It’s something grown-ups do, cry when we’re happy. I look forward to the day we all get to meet you. I want to count your 10 fingers, nibble your 10 toes, kiss your chubby cheeks, smell your baby smell, and savor tiny cuddles. I can’t wait to read you bedtime stories. I’m already working on writing you one too. Your Mom & Dad, uncles, grandmas and grandpas, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents, great aunts & great uncles, and all of the family in between are also giddy with excitement. You’re already loved and adored, and we don’t even know your name yet.

Prepare to be spoiled, kiddo.

I LOVE YOU!

Gigi

***************

If you missed my first post in this challenge: Letter to an Alien (Letter Challenge #1)

Image from http://www.grandmaandgrandpagifts.com/

Advertisements

Raw & Real

SFoxWriting’s Alphabet Challenge ~ “R”

First and foremost, Happy International Day of Poetry! Also, happy 96th birthday to my Minga! She is my paternal grandmother. I couldn’t say “Grandma” when I was little; it came out “Minga”. My kids and I still call her that to this day. She is a remarkable woman.

While there is much to celebrate, it is bittersweet. Today is also the anniversary of my maternal grandfather’s passing. He was younger than my mother is now when he left this world. It was a life-changing event for many.

Days like today are exactly why I write. I’m jubilant. I want to celebrate. Not everyone my age still has a living grandmother. I have two, both of whom celebrate birthdays this month. They bring great happiness into this world. I am so fortunate. At the same time, I’m melancholy and filled with regret. While I have my grandmas, I don’t have my grandpas. I wasn’t as close to my maternal grandfather as I should have been. There are all sorts of reasons why, none of which are important to me now. I should have known him better. I should have visited more. Conversely, I was very close to my paternal grandfather. He was a character larger than life. He too would also have celebrated a birthday this month. My eyes well with tears as I type. I miss them both. Words, be they stories or poetry or simple ramblings, are therapeutic. It’s an incredible mechanism for dealing with such extreme conflicts of emotion.

On the day my grandfather passed 25 years ago, the words that helped me cope came in the form of poetry:
Dear Grandpa,
Just where do I start?
There are so many
Things in my heart.

I loved you so much,
I now miss you the same.
You had a special touch.
When I needed it, you came.

Why did I wait ‘til now –
Until it was too late,
To tell you how I feel,
To say “Grandpa, you’re great!”?

I am so sorry!
It just isn’t fair.
There was no warning
No time to tell you “I care”.

Everyone tells me,
“Be strong for your Mom”,
But who’s being strong for me
Now that you’re gone?

I loved you too.
I know I wasn’t the greatest,
But the words I say are true.

Grandpa, I miss you,
And I will always, always love you.

I know, it’s not exactly a masterpiece painted of words. However, it’s raw. It’s real. It’s a 15 year old kid figuring out how to deal with death for the first time. It’s something I last read years ago. It stirs up some powerful stuff even after all of this time. Mom, I’m sorry. I know this post will be tough for you.

On an unrelated note, but while I’m being real, there is one more quick thing… Yesterday I blogged my 50th post. It was a thrilling milestone. I don’t know if it was my excitement, if I rushed, if I was careless or lazy or what, but after my post had been published for several hours, I found a typo. I was mortified. Immediately I scrambled to correct it, but could only think of those who had already seen it. It gets better. Several more hours passed before another typo was brought to my attention – complete, total, utter humiliation (combined with extreme gratitude for the friend who pointed it out so I could fix it). I realize that everybody who read yesterday’s post, my 50th no less, saw my errors. I couldn’t just let that go. I had to say something. My readers, I apologize. I am sincerely sorry.

“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” ~Jodi Picoult

The Apple

Ben Turner burst through the door, kicked off his shoes, dropped his backpack and ran into the kitchen. As expected, a shiny red apple awaited him on the counter. Without word, he snatched the apple and climbed into a bar stool to enjoy it.

“Hungry today Benny?” Asked Grandma, as she took inventory of the contents of the kitchen.  Ben smiled through his mouth full of apple and nodded excitedly.

He loved everything about having Grandma live at his house. Even getting her moved in last summer was a great adventure. Ben got to ride with Daddy in a big truck all the way to Grandma’s. He felt so grown-up as he helped carry boxes and possessions from her house to the truck. All the way back home he and Grandma sang and laughed.

On his first day of third grade, Ben came home to find the largest, most succulent red delicious apple sitting upon the counter. Grandma smiled and handed it to him. That day, and every day since, they would sit together as Ben finished his apple, happily discussing the events of the day. Mom and Dad were at work, so Grandma even helped Ben with his homework. He would never tell them, but Grandma was a much better teacher than his parents. She was warm and patient where they were usually hurried and flustered. Even when he struggled, Grandma would smile, pat his head, and slowly start over.

Homework wasn’t the only thing Grandma was the best at. Grandma always cooked the most divine meals. He appreciated Dad’s morning Eggo waffles. Mom’s packed lunches were certainly edible. Oh but dinner… Ben looked forward to devouring Grandma’s dinner time creation every single day.

“No homework today, Grandma!” Ben exclaimed as he wiped the sticky apple remnants from his face with the back of his hand. She grinned and shook her head. She motioned him toward the sink and turned the faucets to just the right temperature. He put his hands under the running water and allowed Grandma to gently wipe his face.

“Good”, Grandma replied, “I am making a special dinner tonight. I could use your help. Wash those hands up like I taught you.”

Getting to help Grandma in the kitchen was always a treat. She called him “the official kitchen taste tester” and let him sample all of the food before it was served. He scrubbed his hands as clean as a surgeon in preparation.

As they got to work, Ben wondered what was so special about meatloaf. Sure, Grandma’s was the best as far as meatloaf is concerned, but this certainly didn’t constitute a “special dinner”. His disappointment was quickly replaced with elation when he realized that they would also be baking a chocolate cake for dessert. Not only would he get to taste test the batter, but he’d also get to apply the frosting and lick the spatula. His Grandma was the best grandma.

Mom and Dad gushed over the luscious food that Ben and Grandma had made them. The cake was delectable and moist. The homemade frosting was a perfect balance of light, sweet, and chocolaty. Everyone ate until they were stuffed to capacity.

After dinner, while the adults cleaned up, Ben headed upstairs for his nightly bath. He wanted to hurry to allow Grandma enough time for a bedtime story. She was even better at storytelling than she was at cooking. Grandma didn’t even need a book. She made up plots that twisted and turned. Characters that became as real as life. Stories that would make them laugh and some that would make them cry. The more time she had, the better the story would get.

Grandma peeked into Ben’s room just as he had finished donning his pajamas. He climbed into bed and Grandma sat down to regal him with the story of “Super Bird”. Ben giggled at the title. Of course Grandma knew exactly how to give that bird life and suck Ben into her world of make-believe.

She told him of a little bird, smaller than all of the rest, who longed to be special. The other birds teased him relentlessly because of his minuscule stature. When he just couldn’t stand the bullying anymore, the little bird ran away from home. She painted a vivid picture of the bird’s travels and especially his destination, the circus. Ben’s eyes widened in wonderment as Grandma’s words portrayed a magical place, full of color and laughter, where the little bird was accepted and loved as the “World’s Smallest Bird”. Ben’s expression turned to concern as the little bird began to grow until he was no longer the smallest or unique. His concern turned to relief when the bird didn’t stop growing until he was the circus’ newest attraction, “Super Bird”.

By the time Grandma finished her story, Ben’s mind was full and his eyes were heavy. Before he drifted off to sleep, he told Grandma, “I am going to sleep now. I want to dream about Super Bird.” Grandma tucked him in tight, kissed his forehead, turned on the nightlight, and softly closed the door behind her.

The next day began like any other. Mom was up early to prepare lunches and leave for work. Dad made toaster waffles for breakfast. Grandma zipped Ben’s coat and helped him with his backpack before hurrying him out the door for his short walk to school.

During lunch that day, Ben began feeling ill. He wasn’t sure what was making him sick. He didn’t have a stuffy nose or a tummy ache. His body didn’t hurt and his head felt ok. He just didn’t feel right. That sensation would linger for the rest of his school day. At the final bell, Ben gathered his things and prepared for his walk home.

He exited through the front door and spotted Mommy in the parking lot near the sidewalk. She hadn’t picked him up from school since second grade. Why was she here now? As he got closer he realized that Mommy had been crying. Those around her rubbed her arm, placed a hand upon her back, and some hugged her. Ben didn’t know why, but his eyes began to well with tears. After what seemed like an eternity, he finally reached his mother. He looked up at her inquisitively and she responded with a tight hug. Mommy kneeled until she looked Ben directly in the eyes. Then she said something so impossible, so infuriating, so cruel… She said, “Ben, Grandma is gone. She left this world and moved on to the next. Baby, Grandma died today.”

“NO!” Ben howled as he shoved his way out of his mother’s embrace. “You’re lying!” She had to be! They just ate dinner together the night prior. Grandma’s bedtime story last night was one of the best yet. She was fine, she was better than fine! She just helped him get ready for school this morning. She wouldn’t leave Ben without saying goodbye. She couldn’t!

Once he escaped his mother’s grasp, he started to run. Each step landed quicker than the one before it. He heard his mother call for him, but this only gave him cause to run even faster. He wanted to be too far away to hear her lies. Warm tears streamed down his cheeks to his quivering chin as he ran toward home on a mission to end this heartless joke. Today when he burst through the door, he didn’t bother to kick off his shoes and he didn’t shed his backpack. He continued his uninterrupted sprint through the house until he reached the kitchen.

There the harsh truth became his reality. Ben gasped for breath as he stared in anguish at the empty spot upon the counter.

 

Return to Short Stories

Return to Home