Welcome to the final days of 31 Days of Being Thankful. Thanks for joining me on this series.
I wanted to tell you today about how thankful I am for the 24 years I had with my late Grandma, June.
I have a hard time finding the words to say just how thankful I am for all that she gave me in life, from her wisdom to her love. Grandma was truly a remarkable woman. It’s been nearly seven years since she passed away, but it’s been closer to ten years since I really had my grandmother with me fully. Grandma was struck by Alzheimer’s in her late 70s and after a year or two she was never really the same. Such is the nature of the curse that is Alzheimer’s.
But before I, and the rest of my family, lost her to this horrible disease she gave us all herself in true grandmother fashion.
I am thankful for the summers spent shadowing her as she cleaned wings at the Baptist camp her and grandfather worked at. After finishing cleaning whichever wing needed to be done, we would head over to the kitchen and help the ladies make rolls for all the hungry campers and grab a bite to eat ourselves. I always got to help put the icing on the cake and always got the first piece. From there we would wait the sixty long mintues until we could go swimming in the camp’s olympic size pool. Once there Grandma would school me in perfecting my breast stroke and try in vain to teach me to dive. That woman was a beauty in the water. I swear she floated on top of the water, not just in it. I never could figure out how she did that and have seen very few people float like she could.
Grandma taught me that life was full of adventure you just had to look for it. Those summers with her and Grandpa at the camp were magical and I am so thankful to have those amazing experiences with her.
Grandma also taught me about boys, ha! Which is to say she taught me what was proper of a young lady to do and say around boys. You didn’t wear short shorts, you never crossed your legs at the knees and heaven forbid if you set with your legs open even if you were in jeans. Grandma’s lists of do-nots also included never being with a boy behind close doors, calling a boy (even call backs weren’t easily approved!).
Her list of do’s were just as amazing and smart, you did offer the young man something to eat and drink. You did let him think he was steering the conversation, with well thought out and well placed words. You do get to know his family, the way he acts to his siblings and his mother and above all else you got to know how the community regarded him.
Grandma was very, old fashioned. Looking back though she was right about so much of it. There were times that I had to stifle the laughs and shake my head because I knew that Grandma just didn’t get it. For example there was this one time at a Wednesday night church service where a girl wore knee length white denim shorts that were lined in lace. Grandma swore up and down that the girl was wearing her bloomers in public and wouldn’t be convinced otherwise.
I am also thankful for Grandma because she would always listen to me. When I was going through my dark days with Jimmy she listened to me pour my heart out at her kitchen bar over a glass of sweet iced tea and a piece of cake. She never judged, she just listened. I owe her for teaching me how to listen to others like that. It’s hard to do sometimes, when you want to give advice so bad, knowing when to be quite and let someone pour out their heart is a talent and one that Grandma excelled at.
Grandma also taught what it looked like for a woman to love a man in a Godly fashion. She was very submissive to Grandpa, but don’t think she was a doormat. I could see her send Grandpa out to the shed, the lake, anywhere but her kitchen with just a look. She was a classic at the look. No what I mean by she was submissive is she deferred to him in all decisions. She trusted him with everything, the finances, the house, the cars, everything. I guess you could say she taught me what it was truly like to trust someone so completely. Something that is harder in our era than hers I would say. Watching her trust Grandpa like that taught me what kind of man I wanted in my life because Grandpa never once took advantage of that trust. He knew how precious it was and he honored her by doing his best to make decisions that would never negatively impact their life. She also taught me the art of ‘no nagging’. It’s easy to nag your husband into doing something but not nagging, now that’s hard.
Grandma was everything to me. I could on forever about the things she taught me to love, music, reading, art, choir, and so much more. I will always miss her but I am so thankful for the time I had with her and for all she gave me in life.