Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Grandma....

This past Tuesday was my Grandmother's Birthday. I being the wonderful granddaughter that I am, forgot to call and wish her a happy birthday. The saddest part of it all is that I spent the entire weekend with her and even talked about her birthday and still forgot to call. I know I should be shot. Anyways...

Years ago, I use to see my grandparents on almost a daily basis, but when my mom remarried and moved to Nashville, I saw them less and less each year. These past few months due to certain events, I've seen my grandparents more than I have in the last nine years and I have committed myself to see them on more of a regular basis. It's my new year's resolution for 2009.

A brief grandmother is not biologically my grandmother. She is by legal terms, my mother's stepmother. My grandfather and her married when my mother was a teenager. We're not related by blood, but as far as grandmothers go, my heart belongs to hers. My grandfather always tells me it was love at first sight the first time my grandmother laid eyes on me. I believe that to be 100% true. Sometimes I feel she still looks at me that way.

I have only known this lady to be my grandma. Believe me, it was a shock at the age of five to meet a lady (my mom's biological mother) who called herself my grandmother and tried to act as though she had known me her whole life. Of course, I cried and quickly proclaimed to that stranger that she was not my grandma, "my grandma was my grandma." And then because I was so upset, they had to get my real grandma so she could calm me down. I honestly can't remember what my grandma said to me during that situation. But, I'm sure it had something to do with how much she loved me and would always be my grandma. Even today, she still tells me that. The family still laughs about that whole situation and for the record, I only saw that stranger one other time in life.

In these last few months, I've for the first time seen my grandmother through the eyes of an adult. My whole life she has always just been my grandma. These past few months, I've grown to see her for the person she is, not just a grandmother. She is a silent warrior. She is the constant caregiver for her 87 year old father and my grandfather, who six years ago was diagnosed with Alzheimers. Between the two, she never has a break. On top of that, she still continues to work a few days a week to make ends meet. I'm not even half her age and I don't have the stamina to keep up with her. The part that impresses me the most about her is that you will never once hear her complain or ask for praise. You can tell she does this out of the goodness of her heart.

When I think back, she is always taking care of someone. Though they had their problems like every blended family does, she has loved grandfather's children like they are her own. I only wish that my stepmother would have loved or at least accepted me the way she has them. Sometimes I'm not sure they realize how lucky they are to have her. Through the years, she has took in several children who have returned to live at home in adulthood and along with those, took in several grandchildren to help raise, I for a short time being one of those. She has taken in my grandfather's mother to care for in old age and then a few years later came her own mother. Now, she is taking care of her own father and the reality of it is she will have to take care of my grandfather in his last years. She doesn't shy away from the task and no matter what happens with my grandfather's mind, whether he remembers her or not, she will be there till the end. And in the end, when they are gone from our lives, she will never once ask for praise and repayment for all those years given up to others. And if you were to praise her on being the caregiver to so many, she will more than likely shrug her shoulders and then busy herself in the kitchen.

Unlike most in our family, she is quiet and usually won't say too much unless you ask her, in which she will then spill what's on her mind. She is always soft spoken but she is also stern and strict. She will quickly put you in your place if you misbehave, but you better believe she won't correct you in front of other, she always pulls you aside. She is strong in her faith, but not in the way that she would ever shove it down you. The only thing she ever expects is you treat others with the respect she has taught you to give to others, regarless of who they are. Saying "yes mam", "yes, sir" and "thank you" was and is still a must in her household, regardless of age.

This past weekend, I got to spend a lot of time with my grandma during our short trip to Nashville. For the first time since I've become an adult, I felt like I got to have an adult conversation with my grandmother. We talked the whole way up there and there were only a few moments of silence in the conversation. We talked about family members (just giving me the update on those I don't see regularly), books, marriage, and many other topics. She is always willing to give me advice and the majority of it always does help when I put it in practice. She is always encouraging me in whatever goals I am chasing and when she, it always seems so honest. That's one of the things I have come to love about her as an adult, her honestly with me. I know I can always count on her to give me her honest opinion. Like my current hairstyle, she didn't like the bangs, but she kindly let me know by several times asking me to pull them back with a headband. Of course she would never flat out tell me she didn't like them, she is too sweet for that. But, it's the honesty that counts.

This weekend though gave me a new perspective on my grandma. I realized that she is a person I want to strive to be like. DW always tells me that my job in life is my family. He says I am more compassionate about my kids that have yet to be born than anyone he has ever met. I hope that I can one day be the caregiver to my family that my grandma is to hers. I hope I can be that selfless to my family and care for them the same way she does. I wish for the same gentle spirit she shows others on a daily basis. I can only hope I have half the strength she does. She is the seriously one of the greatest women I know. I hope she had a wonderful birthday and don't worry I have already thought of a way to redeem myself.


The Popes said...

My new years resolution was to call my grandparents every week too!
What a great post. I hope she reads it!

Tami W said...

Amber, I love you so much. One day when you have your children you will understand. And yes! you are the angel of her eyes.