Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I had a different perspective on what a grandmother was then. I was a young child; everything was play. Swimming, running, digging in the dirt...they were all part of my days as a child.

My grandmother was a wonderful woman. I never remember her EVER yelling at me. There were always just moments of happiness; of feeling safe. She loved to cook, to garden, to sew (although her cooking style was not gourmet it always tasted good.) She was the only grandmother I ever knew. My paternal grandmother died in childbirth so not even my father had the advantage of growing up with a mother.

Memories are funny things aren't they? They take you back to that exact moment in time. When I look at this picture I remember what the sun felt like on my skin. I remember what the sand felt like under my toes. I remember that I was frightened of the giant body of water (an alpine lake). I remember camping and getting dirty, the smell of the wood smoke, the taste of the food, the smell of the canvas tent.

I love all those memories, just like I love the memories of all the other moments I spent with my grandmother. She lived right next door to me and I spent lots of time with her. When she moved up to "the country", I spent every weekend with her and my grandfather. Sweet childhood memories. Safe memories. Happy memories. There was never a moment where I did not feel safe. Ever. I always knew I could trust her to be there for me, to guide me, to show me what was important to her.

That's me peering out from that towel, knees bent, leaning slightly to one side, happy smile on my face. That's me feeling loved, feeling safe, feeling warm and secure. I wish that I could go back in time some days. Just for a day. Just for the opportunity to tell her how much she meant to me and to show her that she paved the way for me to be (hopefully) the kind of grandmother to my grandchildren that she was to me.

I guess I do get a second chance. I get to pass these feelings on to another generation, create new memories in someone Else's minds eye, keep someone else safe, teach someone else what I have learned and what I think about things. Life is such a wonderful thing! It offers us such blessings over and over each day...there for the taking, there without even having to ask. When we are mindful, each single moment of each day becomes an opportunity to share the wonders of our lives.

I am reminded of a story of Thich Nhat Hanh from a book called "Peace in Every Step" and how he tells of his experience of washing dishes. He says that "once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in warm water, it really is quite pleasant." Perhaps this is what I feel when I do laundry or spend time cleaning the floors. I do it because it is necessary but there is also a part of me that enjoys the process (most days...I admit some days I am a bit resentful of the dirty dog footprints!) I used to watch my grandmother hang out laundry on a line between her house and mine...sheets white-as-white could be, everything lined up in order...socks with socks, sheets with sheets, shirts hung upside down so the sleeves or shoulders would not get creases. These were things that I remember fondly, just like all the rest of the moments spent with her.

Perhaps that is why I called her GRAND mother...she was the BEST!


  1. lawrence talks about how the simple act of washing dishes can become a spiritual experience as Being aPeace of Thich but not that one...will check it gramma sounds like a wonderful person...

  2. I love the idea that you get to pass these feelings on to the next generation!

  3. She does sound like a very fine person.

  4. I loved reading this post. You describe exactly how I felt about my grandmother. My childhood friends thought I was a bit strange because I didn't dream of growing up and having babies, I dreamed of growing up and being a grandmother. She is still my inspiration when it comes to all things grandmotherly. Aren't we lucky to have such wonderful examples to follow?

  5. Peace with each new step...I love your post today. The grace is contagious and so reassuring. Thank you for the lovely thoughts. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  6. Natalie really does cherish the time she gets with you. And to think that now you will be carrying that on just as you did when you were a child. Especially the living next door part!

  7. Hi,I followed you over from Suz's Begin Again, and I just wanted to say I really enjoyed this. Being a new grandmom myself, I can relate and I hope my grandbaby girl remembers me as sweetly as you remember yours. As for the reference to the dish washing and the wisdom that came with it, I really try to infuse love in a lot of the mundane, folding the girls clothes or picking up after them; the tasks become important, as all of our actions are. Thanks for this post.

  8. Lucky you! Thanks for sharing your Grand Mother with us!


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