Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Margaret

I loved my great grandma Margaret.
I had the blessing of getting to know her throughout my childhood and even into adulthood.  I got to know her through experiences that now frame memories in my mind.  Memories I jog through my mind when daily events spur a reminder of her. 

I remember visiting her at her little apartment.  Sitting at her small wooden dining room table while she told us about her years cooking at the schools.  Her secrets to making the perfect chocolate cake.  And how it always tastes better after being in the fridge a day.  About how you take your cookies out of the oven 1 minute before they should be done so they finish cooking on the stove top.  And not to mix the batter too much. 

And other things like not to rub your eyes with your pointer finger because it held the most germs and would make you sick.  A Kleenex was best. She shared with me the misery of playing basketball in wool uniforms that covered your body from head to toe.  

She also represented many things she never spoke of either.  Such as how to lean on God and work through the sufferings of losing a child to a tragic accident.  To the secrets of raising 2 boys in tough times.  To the strength of balancing working full time and raising kids.  To the loss of a spouse early in life.  To the secrets of waiting on God to take you home at the age of 96, when you feel like your purpose in life is long past..

She may not have known it. But she had a purpose in my life. She was my listening ear.  I would write her letters, often.  Sometimes weekly.  And though she would never reply, I had an ear to listen to my teenage struggles.  I always felt more comfortable writing my emotions down than verbalizing them.  So she became my sounding board.  I could relay the struggles of secret boy crushes, frustration with not making 1st chair in band, with being worn down from sports practices, with heartache of friendships, with disappointments, not fitting in, trying to figure out who I was, what I wanted to be, where I wanted to go... 

She was who I turned too.  Even when I couldn't speak to my parents about such things, I could trust her with this information.  Never looking for an answer but letting it flow out of my brain and heart onto the powerful white of the paper.  Release.

Later on in her life, I remember visiting her at her nursing home.  She lived alone.  Fully mindful of everything.  And still able to walk, just needing more assistance.  She never completely liked being there.  But accepted it.  Mostly.  She felt like she didn't belong there.  Feelings I can't imagine.  But she stayed.  I remember her tiny little room.  Her bed we would sit on when we visited. While she rocked in her chair with her feet up and her white support stockings peering out under her cotton pants.  She always had a vest over a silk blouse on that beautified her silver curly hair and soft, round face.  Her eyes were always droopy and watery, but her beauty still shone through from days of old. 

I fully believe she forged the way for me in my heart for special populations.  She made a way for me to be at ease with people in wheelchairs, or people who could not communicate up to society's standards, who made weird noises, or did not follow social cues.  She softened my heart toward people who needed a voice.  People who had so much to say, just no one to say it for them.  People who had more to give than we could ever imagine.  People who loved fully. 

She is a big reason for who I am today. Who I have a passion for. And how.

So as my kids spent this past weekend with their Great Grandma, I felt my heart pitter patter.  Knowing they were going to be blessed with the same opportunity as me.  To create memories with their Great Grandma's.  Memories that may forge them into who they will become.What they believe.  And who they have a heart for.

What a blessing! (even if the girls did think she ate more of the cookie frosting than she put on the cookies) :)






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