Last night I went to visit my Grandma for a couple of hours. I love my Grandma. She's a strong southern woman, a real lady. I love listening to her talk in her southern drawl. It makes everything she says sound a little bit feistier.
I admire this woman. She's strong, yet feminine. She's quiet, yet observant. And she's wise. So very wise. This is a woman who spent most of her life as a pastor's wife, living under constant scrutiny and judgment from others. She raised 6 children while sharing the attention of her husband with hundreds of other people. But she held her head high and never complained. I am so glad my daughter has a family full of strong women to look up to.
Last night Grandma surprised me. She's at that point in her life where she feels she needs to start eliminating things, keep it simple. She feels there's no need to keep hanging on to stuff that she doesn't have room for anymore. For years she has collected the Department 56 Dickens Christmas Village. I have always loved looking at it during the holidays. And last night when I got to her house, the entryway was full of boxes. The Christmas Village, all boxed up and waiting for me to take home. And equally precious, her Mickey Mouse cookie jar that I have loved and admired for over 20 years, now a part of my own Disney cookie jar collection.
I was so thankful for her generosity and so honored that she asked me to have them. But it was a bittersweet moment. It's sad to think that she is getting to that point where she feels the need to simplify, because as she said "You can't take it with you."
I have been so lucky in my life to have two sets of grandparents to learn from. And I really believe that each one of them left a lasting imprint on who I am today. I lost my fabulous Grandpa G eight years ago, followed by the devastating loss of my Grandma G three years later. And then my sweet Grandpa B last year. Grandma B is all I have left. It sucks being at the age where you start losing the people closest to you.
I realized last night that all I can do is learn as much as I can from her, soak in her strength, her polite southern charm, her ladylike manners. I need her recipes for scalloped potatoes and pimento cheese spread (hey don't make that face, I am the pickiest eater on the planet and I could eat this stuff 24/7).
Hopefully I can not only pass on her possessions to my babies, but also those qualities in her that I admire most.