I have countless memories of visiting and staying with my mother’s parents. Some are so vivid it is as if it happened yesterday. I remember being terrified to go down into her basement alone, but loving sliding down the “firemen’s pole” to get there when Gram was down there. I remember going up into her attic and admiring my mother’s wedding dress – and occasionally being allowed to try it on. I remember walking with her down the big hill on her street to go to the post office, and then to Garden State Farms to get the freshest, coldest milk I’d ever tasted.
I remember staying up on New Year’s Eve to watch the ball drop and listen to Guy Lombardo sing Auld Lang Syn. Just before midnight Gram would fill a plate with her amazing Christmas cookies and make huge ice cream floats with cream soda and vanilla ice cream, and at midnight we’d dance around the sun parlor and sing. I’d go to bed shortly after midnight and sleep until noon the next day, and when I’d wake up, Gram would let me have “coffee” (half coffee, half milk with about 3 spoonfuls of sugar) out of the demitasse cup of my choice. She’d make French toast covered with cinnamon and sugar and drenched with warm maple syrup. (Thinking back on that I have to laugh -- Gram was just pumping me up with sugar before returning me to my parents after they’d been out celebrating on New Year’s Eve. Maybe that was her way of making sure they didn’t celebrate too much! )
I could write a book about my Gram – but I think you get the point. In my eyes, she was just a phenomenal woman, who brought joy to every life she touched. When she died during my junior year of college, it was the first time I really felt the sorrow that comes from losing someone you love and truly adore.
Gram & me
I’ve spent the past 20+ years of my life trying to be someone my Gram would be proud of. I try (albeit I’m not always successful) to keep my attitude aligned with how I remember hers to be – ever-positive, ever-generous, ever-loving. I am so far from “there” – but I keep trying just the same. At times when I’m feeling confused about something, I look up to the heavens and I ask my Gram how she would handle it -- and do you know what? She usually finds a way to send me an answer. I guess she just can’t stop helping.
So, I’ve told you an awful lot about my very special grandmother, but that is hardly a story that warrants the title of From Generation to Generation. So what’s missing?
What’s missing, is a glimpse at two other phenomenal females in my life -- my mother and my daughter.
I’ve already introduced you to my Mom in my Patchwork Pillows post a few weeks ago. The thing I really didn’t realize growing up, is that my Mom is an awful lot like my Gram. She spends every day of her life just giving. Giving. Giving. Giving. She gives hugs, praise, gifts, love, and she always – always – has time for her family and friends.
Growing up, she sacrificed so much for my siblings and me. She was always there – for every sporting event, every play, every recital – every day, she was there. She helped me with every assignment that I successfully put off until the eleventh hour, and unlike me with my own kids, she never complained and never lost her patience (at least not that I knew).
As a mother of three teenagers myself, I now see my Mom in a completely different light. The truth is, I could sit here all day and never find the right words to describe just how good a person my Mom is. She is gentle, kind, loving, optimistic, upbeat, generous, nurturing….the list could go on and on all day.
My daughter, Amy, a “next-generation” gentle soul, really summed it up the best. After celebrating Easter at my parents’ house a few weeks ago, we were in the car together and she turned to me and said, “Do you know what I realized last week on Easter? Mom-Mom is just the cutest little woman in the whole world. I was watching her on Easter, and while everyone was busy doing their thing – there was Mom-Mom, just puttering around, smiling, and making sure that everyone was happy and comfortable. I just love her.”
Amy's recognition and appreciation of my mother warmed my soul, and was very reminiscent of my feelings of admiration towards my Gram. It made me very proud to know that my sweet daughter was attuned to that kindness. What followed later that week, however, left me speechless.
Amy made another comment following a get-together with some friends. She said, “You know what I realized, Mom? Someday I’m going to be the cutest woman in the world.”
“Oh really?” I said, “How’s that?”
“Well, you know how they say that as we get older, we become a lot like our mothers? Well, I was watching you last night, and you reminded me of Mom-Mom – just staying positive and smiling, and making sure everyone was happy and comfortable. It’s happening to you, and it’s going to happen to me. Someday, because of Mom-Mom, I’ll be the cutest little woman in the world.”
Talk about a great gift from your daughter.
Who knows exactly how far back we can trace the line of kind-hearted, smiling women in our family? All I know is that whether I’m looking back and remembering my Gram, or trying to find the words to describe my mother – or even looking to the future and the amazing young woman my daughter has become, I can’t feel anything but honored and humbled to be a part of this family.
Happy Mother’s Day!