When I was very young, my mom and I lived with my great-grandma. My sole memory of her is picking strawberries in our backyard. Together we walked past an old-fashioned water pump into what seemed like an acre of strawberries — at least that’s how I remember it.
Once we were back inside she made me a dish of strawberries with thick, white cream poured on top. If you only have one memory of a person, that’s a good one to have.
Mom adored her grandmother. Sadly, Great-grandma took a bad fall when I was only three and she died in hospital. In her wake, Mom and I survived dicey neighborhoods, her abusive, alcoholic second husband and my debilitating asthma. But we were never really alone.
I didn’t realize it then, but my grandma and grandpa rescued us time and time again. They were our saviors, plain and simple. Time passed, my mom remarried, and eventually I had a decent, middle-class childhood. But without my grandparents’ resources and support in those early years we would have fallen through the cracks long before Mom got her act together.
Almost 40 years after my great-grandma died, my daughters and I ended up living with her daughter, my grandma. Talk about completing the cosmic circle! My daughters already knew their great-grandparents, but living with a relative takes the relationship to a whole new plane. None of us will ever forget Grandma’s eccentricities like calling 911 when she was cold or her uncanny knack for tailoring depressing stories for every situation. Without her inspiration I would have never created this blog.
My daughters are fortunate; a lot of people never know their grandparents — let alone their great-grandparents. I take solace in that when I think how much they missed out on by never knowing my mom. I wish she could have seen what beautiful young women they’ve grown up to be. I think she would have been proud of them. I hope she would have been proud of me too.
Since one of my daughters is married and another lives with her boyfriend, it could be my turn soon to spoil grandchildren. But every time the subject comes up, they both dismiss the possibility of ever having children of their own.
They’re young, and I definitely have my hands full with Grandma and my youngest who still lives at home. But it makes me sad to think I’ll never have another child to share Christmas with, or teach silly songs, or teasingly tell them they have garments on their back — and ancestors too! New generations make life richer and give us hope for the future.
Besides, who am I going to live with when I’m old and senile? For their own sake I hope my daughters eventually change their minds.
Image credit: wolandmaster / 123RF Stock Photo