Monday, September 5, 2011
Happy Labor Day! Today is the start of something I wanted to incorporate into my blog each week - a highlight of an amazing Mother. Believe me, there are many out there to choose from, and I know I will never run out of subjects. My wish is that each Monday, you can grab a cup of coffee and rest for 2 or 3 minutes while you meet a new Mother much like yourself each week.
I had a couple of ladies in mind to kick this off, one being the Mother that made me conceive this idea in the first place. But as life does what it does so well – happen – I didn’t get the information exchange in time. Sickness overtook our household, conquering now 4 of the 6 of us, and I found myself out of commission longer than I have been in years.
During my sickness, a significant date came and passed for me. August 31, 2011. It is the 4 year anniversary of my Grandma’s passing. I had planned to blog a tribute to her that day, but I was too sick to get out of bed. As I said before, recovery has been slow and I was upset that I was unable to pull together the information on the Mom for this week. Now I think it may have worked out the way it was supposed too.
I can’t think of a more appropriate way to kick off Monday’s with Mom than to highlight my Grandma.
- This is my Grandma, May Belle. She was a nurse for several years. Then quit to focus on her family and home.
I love this picture of her, I think she looks so pretty. She was very proud of her accomplishment of becoming a nurse, and she looks happy in this picture. She had two daughters follow in her footsteps and become nurses, also. She always said that my mom was the best nurse she ever worked with. They went through LPN nursing school together, and Grandma loved working with her daughter.
Even after Grandma quit nursing, she still cared for people, especially the elderly. Because I lived with Grandma off and on, mostly on, until I was 19 years of age, I went along on these visits. Grandma was in her 60′s and 70′s, and she would say we were going to check on an old lady down the street. We’d go to see Mrs. Hunt, Mrs. Sumpter, Mrs. Webb and countless other names I have long-since forgotten. We took plates of food, pies or cakes and spent time visiting and asking questions about them. They were painfully boring visits for me at the time, but I am so thankful that she dragged me along. Grandma lived her faith. It is a legacy I am thankful to have.
This is Grandma in her 60's. We were still playing one on one basketball until she was about 73. She was an All-County Guard in high school, in the late 1930's.
I was 11 years old and living with my grandparents, when my Grandpa suddenly died. They had been married for 41 years when he passed at the age of 58. I asked Grandma what she thought when she saw Grandpa for the first time. She said, “I thought he was cute. And a smart-aleck.” She always had a twinkle in her eye when she talked about their early years.
Then she said, “I thought, ‘I’ll show you. I’ll just marry you!’” And she did. I made her tell me the story of their elopement hundreds of times. I am sure they had their fights, because all couples do, but their marriage was strong and they treated each other with love and respect. While I lived with them, I watched both of them do little, nice things for the other. They were small acts of kindness, but they were big. I was young, but I remember that part well. I’m thankful I do. It has made my own marriage better.
Grandma worked very hard on her home and land. And she taught me to work beside her. But she always took time to play with me. She even taught me how to play poker and we used matchsticks to bet with. When I was in high school, we would get hedge apples from the bush across the street of our dead-end lane. We would line up the hedge apples like bowling pins and roll another at them. It was our own country-style bowling alley. That memory is as vivid to me as if it happened yesterday, instead of almost 30 years ago. She was never short on energy or creativity when she spent time with me. It makes me want to be better at both with my children.
Grandma loved my children. We were over 1,000 miles away by the time my only girl was added to my brood of boys. John and I didn’t have a name chosen for a girl when she came into the world, we were expecting more blue. When the doctor held up our little pink daughter, we both were speechless. We had to come up with a name, quick. I knew instantly that I had to name her after Grandma. So from May Belle, we had ourselves an Anabelle. Grandma cried when she was told. I can’t think of a better gift I could have given her to show her how much I loved and appreciated her.
Anabelle was 4 months old before we could make it back home to share her. This is the first time Grandma was able to hold her name-sake.
One of Grandma’s favorite hobbies was crotcheting and quilting. She started me a hope chest when I was just 5 years old. And over the years she added towels and cloths trimmed in crotcheted lace, hand-sewn quilts, and pillow cases beautifully embroideried. In addition to the treasures of these items, she crotcheted baby booties, hats and jackets for my own children someday.
This picture was from Anabelle's baby dedication. She had a sweet white sundress, that went perfectly with the jacket, hat and booties her Great-Grandma had lovingly made for her decades before.
Anabelle’s baby dedication was a very special day. We had 4 generations of women together for the first time, Anabelle, me, my Mom, and Grandma. It meant a great deal to all of us.
There are many pictures of us together through the years. Usually, I am sitting on her lap, even as an adult. We had a lot of fun together. I do love this picture, even though I am not sitting on her.
I hated living so many miles from her, and treasured the times I did get to see her. We talked almost every day on the phone, usually while I cleaned the breakfast dishes. Sometimes we only talked for 5 minutes, sometimes for over an hour. She was the best listener that I have ever had in my life. She began getting old after 85 years of age, and her health began to decline over the next couple of years. The Lord was so generous in allowing Grandma to celebrate Anabelle’s first birthday with us.
This was our last picture taken together. I know she didn't feel well physically, but I also know she loved celebrating Anabelle's first year of life.
Just 5 short weeks later, at the age of 88, Grandma slipped quietly into the arms of her Savior. It has been 4 years now and there has not been a moment that has gone by that I have not missed her beyond description. I miss hearing her call me “Doll” and I miss at the end of every conversation, exchanging the words with her, “I love you the mostest.” I could gush on for infinite hours about all she did for me, how she didn’t miss a single basketball game my senior year or the long walks we ventured on. The stories would be endless.
I am humbled that the Lord has allowed Anabelle to possess Grandma’s spunk, strength, humor, sass and generous love. I cherish that. I am so grateful to God that He allowed Grandma to see all 4 of my children and to have her as long as I did. Everyday I still need her advice and encouragement, but I am committed to carrying on her legacy and teaching my children the values I learned from her. I can only hope my legacy is half as strong as hers.