I don’t know if it’s Shirley Temple Black’s passing, or my my little lovey’s quickly approaching FOURTH birthday, or something else altogether, but lately I have missed my grandma quite a little extra. Grandma was a good, strong lady, who, if nothing else, got a real big kick outta me. We shared a special humor and special bond. In a lot of ways I know she favored my tall, thin, smart, pretty, Dallas-Cowboy-lovin’ cousin. But in some ways, she favored me. She got my sassy jokes and she liked them. For a long time she didn’t care for my taste in fellas, but she may have crushed on Husband more than me. She loved him. I am glad she was able to see me walk down the aisle with a really good man. I wish she could have seen me walk down a different aisle. One with my baby bro and me separated by only one person in line to collect our college diplomas. I know she knew I always had it in me to finish, but I wish she could have seen it. My grandparents, all four of them, were far more interest in my future including higher education than my parents ever have been. More than that moment though, I wish my grandma could have met my lovey. Oh she wanted that so badly! It kills me to say, that was part of what killed her.
Grandma, me and Mama Summer 2009
Grandma knew I was pregnant. She was happy for me. She knew it would be a girl. She knew she would be born on Valentine’s Day. I never knew either of those things until after Grandma passed. Her greatest wish was that my baby, even if it was a boy, would have my “sparkle.” She hoped I would have a child just as outgoing, spunky and spotlight-loving as I was (am). I suppose this is where I can tie Shirley Temple in. In our family Shirley Temple served as bond between two very different generations. She bonded that blond cousin and me to our grandparents in a way that ice cream, summer vacation or even holidays never could. Shirley-Dimples-Bright Eyes was something tangible that we were all interested in. We all loved her old films. We watched them together and separately. We could sometimes discuss favorites. Grandma would record my favorites from TCM onto old VHSs and bring them with the titles hand-scrawled onto the labels. I would thank her with my self-taught tap dancing and singing performances. And that is the kind of kid she wanted for me. You win Grandma.
Grandma passed away at the beginningish of my third trimester. She scheduled a surgery a couple of months before my due date so that she could be all healed up and ready to travel 2000 miles to come meet my baby. The surgery went great. Except other parts began shutting down and although she lasted about a week or so longer, she never left that hospital. Against the wishes of some of my family, I was the one to travel 2000 miles. But that was after she passed. I never said goodbye. She never met my lovey. We never got that closure. I suppose that is the reason that writing something like this or some sort of letter to her has been on my mind since that January of 2010.
With that in mind, Grandma, I just want you to know:
I love you. And Granddad. I miss him a lot too. You seriously would LOVE my babies. They are great. Kind, beautiful, crazy, smart and fun. The Aunts gave the two sets of silverware to Cousin and me. We can continue polishing it up every holiday. I so wanted to do that for Christmas, but then I couldn’t remember where my new, safe place to store it was. I cried because it seemed really important. I found it 2 days after Christmas and cried again. I got more tattoos. I know you would mostly hate it… but I always got the feeling at least 2% of you was at least mildly entertained by that part of me. Sorry about becoming a Seahawks fan. It’s not just about football. Seattle has my heart. And as for the rest of the family, much has changed but I guess not really. All of us are a least a little bit crazy. Sometimes a little too crazy. But in the midst all that, we do love each other, and from what I hear, happiness can still be found at the lake.
Love to you and Granddad always,
Proof from the summer that we are all still getting together!