Monday, July 31, 2017

monday musings

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This week I wanted to do something a little different for Monday Musings. Instead of a Q&A, today's post is a memoriam to grandmother who passed away last Friday.

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For Grandma

I was four years old when my parents divorced. My mother struggled with drug and alcohol addiction resulting in my dad receiving full custody of me and my one-year-old down syndrome brother. Not long after the divorce my mom moved six hours away, virtually disappearing from our lives other than an occasional phone call and summer visits.

I may not remember my parents together, but I do remember who stepped in to help my dad as he did his best to raise two children on his own: my grandmother. While she and my grandpa didn't live in the same town, or even the same state, they often made the journey to see us and us to them. My grandmother was my sounding board, my friend and my confidant while we played Barbies, baked cookies, or just went to the park. In many ways, she was my primary mother figure for many years before my dad remarried. She, along with my dad, dried my tears when I cried and gave me hugs and praise. She nurtured my love for music and did her best to teach me how to be an organized individual, though sadly that one didn't take. :)

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high school and graduate school graduations

I definitely got my love for arts and crafts from my grandma - she loved to make whimsical cutout cookies, and homemade greeting cards for every special occasion. At Christmas, her tree was filled with homemade ornaments - made by my dad, uncle and aunt, my great-grandma and my grandma. The house was full of cookies - the famous cutouts, kangaroo squares, butterscotch drop cookies, just to name a few. And more importantly, the house was filled to the brim with family. (Though as I kid I mostly remembered the piles of presents).

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For my grandma, there was nothing was more important than family. Her daughter, my aunt, was also born with down syndrome. In a time when children who were "different" were best left in an institution, my grandparents chose to take her home and raise her with all the love given to any other child. She was so proud of her children, all her grandchildren and delighted in her great-grandchildren. She forgot all the mess ups, mistakes and failures and only remembered the good.

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Before my husband and I decided to have children, I really struggled with whether or not I would be a good mother. Or if I should even be a mother at all. My mom never really knew what to do with kids, and we didn't even really start to have a relationship until was a teenager/adult. Would I be the same with my own, disinterested - or annoyed by them - until they could behave like rational adults? After all, doesn't everything go full circle? I remembered my grandmother and realized I had an amazing example of motherhood and what it means to love family unconditionally.

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My grandma Ruth Lillian with her namesake Aubrey Lillian

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew without question I wanted to name her after my grandmother. It was important to me to name her after someone who played such a large role in my life, and I hoped some of her goodness and generosity of spirit would rub off on her great-grandchild. :) Everyday, I see bits of my grandmother in my daughter with her empathetic nature and desire for people to be happy.

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my grandparents' 65th wedding anniversary last year

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four generations

My grandmother lived a life of integrity and faith. I can't think of a better role model to have had and she's certainly a woman that I still strive to be. I truly hate goodbyes, but I know this isn't the end as I'll see her again one day in heaven. I'll value and cherish all the memories we have together. Love you grandma and am so grateful to have had you in my life.

4 comments:

  1. I'm sorry for your loss. This is a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. Your love for her shines through.

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    1. She was a wonderful lady. Hard to put that into words, but I wanted to at least try.

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  2. Erin, what great memories (I love the cutout cookies - you definitely inherited talents there!) and what a wonderful tribute. You'll miss her, but clearly a wonderful lady is living on through you and your daughter, having passed on her love and values and talents.

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    1. She was great, and like you said, passed down a lot of wonderful memories and values to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. :)

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