Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What Will You Leave Behind?

The last two faces I see at night before I go to sleep are those of my grandparents, Pappy Chuck and Grammy Theresa. I have a photo of them together on my beside table and it always makes me smile to see them together, as I know they are now in heaven.
When my grandmother passed away five years ago, my family joked that my grandfather was waiting for her at the kitchen table in heaven, and when she arrived, he'd say, "It's about time, Theresa! I'm hungry!"
My grandmother was old school and believed that dinner should be on the table for her husband when he got home from work. While I don't have as many memories of my grandfather as I do of my grandmother--he passed away when I was six--I do remember that he'd stare straight ahead while he ate at the table, which meant an entire meal of feeling uncomfortable for whoever say across from him! He'd also wait until the bread started growing mold before he'd eat it. To this day, I have no idea why.
And then there's my grandma. I miss her so much and think of her constantly, especially now that I'm a mom. I know Sebastian would have loved her and she would have loved spoiling him!
It's the little things that remind me most of her. Like the smell of fried onions, like those in her homemade pierogies. Pumpkin rolls that every one would buy from her for Thanksgiving. Pears, which were the very last thing I fed her before she passed away.
Bingo and yard sales, where you'd better not get in her way or try to overcharge her! Her famous punch bowl dessert, which my mom made this past 4th of July. Artificial Christmas trees, like the one I used to put together for her every year.
I miss her more and more as I get older and begin to truly appreciate who she was, the way she did things, her unconditional love. And I know I can't turn back time, but I wish I had been there more often, asked her about her childhood, how she met my grandfather, what she did when she realized she was going to be a mother. I wish I would have listened more.
But all I can do now is take what I have and hold on to it. I can look at her picture every night and see her smile, knowing that I can make memories with my son the way she made memories with me. Like the time we made funnel cake and the batter was too thick. Or the time we were making cookies and I spilled the contents of the mixing bowl, including an egg, onto her shoe and the floor.
I can talk to my son, even though he may not always be listening. I can tell him about the amazing woman who is his great grandmother. I can teach him to ask questions, to soak up every moment he has with his grandparents and great grandparents. With me and his daddy. Because one day, we will all be nothing more in this world than smiling faces in photos. But the memories we leave behind for those to hold onto are the most important things of all.

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