Saturday, March 31, 2007

Living with Grandma

Most of my childhood memories involve my maternal grandparents. Grandma and Pap were at our home for every holiday. They were at everyone of my brothers' football games. They helped in the huge garden. Pap took me and several other girls to Girl Scouts every week.

When they weren't at our house, one of us was usually with them at their home. I remember many summers spent with Grandma and Pap. My cousin lived across the country at the time. She would come to stay for the summer, and the two of us would stay with Grandma and Pap. This is what I remember most of my childhood.

Pap was the most kind, and gentle man. He was intelligent, handy, funny, loving, and patient. A true family man. He wasn't a very good disciplinarian, as he always felt bad. That was fine with us. We thought that he was as perfect as anyone could be on this side of heaven.

Grandma was complimentary to Pap's soft disposition. She was firm, and strict, but we never doubted her love. They were a perfect match, and celebrated 49 anniversaries.

Cancer took Pap eight months after Verne and I were married. This was a staggering loss for everyone who knew him. Grandma is a very strong person, and although she missed her beloved, she came through his death gracefully. She lived alone for 16 years after he passed.

In the summer of 2005, I called Grandma and asked her to come and live with us. We had been praying about this for a long while, and the time seemed right. She declined our offer, but said that she knew we were willing if she changed her mind. Verne called her, himself, and told her that he had respected Pap, and had always thought of them as his "own" grandparents. He told her that it would be an honor for him to be able to care for Pap's widow. I think he sealed the deal, although she didn't give in right away.

The day after Thanksgiving, Grandma called and said that she would come in the spring. We were thrilled! Verne got to work right away. We converted a two car attached garage into two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a large hallway. We finished up the renovation the day before we went to get Gram!

We have lived away from family for almost nine years. Our children have not had the same opportunity to spend time with their grandparents that Verne and I had as children. But now, they have their great-grandma here everyday! What a blessing she has been to us and to our children.

One year ago today, we packed all of Grandma's worldly possessions into a Penske truck, and brought her back to her new home. We are so glad that she said, "Yes"!

Grandma took advantage of the beautiful weather today, and sat outside to enjoy a book.


Anonymous said...

I am so touched by your post. A couple years ago my mother came to live with us for 6 months. Having her here brought her closer to her grand-daughter...indeed a blessing.

Christy said...

It is a rare thing to see someone lovingly care for an aging family member. It breaks my heart how many people are unwilling to care for the very people that once cared for them!

How wonderful for your family to get to enjoy her like this!! Your children will have wonderful memories to tell their own children one day :)

Thank you for your prayers for Laura Grace-you don't know how much it means to me to have people I have never met praying for us. God is good!!

Karen said...

Tracy, this is a beautiful post and tribute to your grandparents. I, also, love older people. I love the picture of your Pap with all his sweet smile lines in that face! I would much rather get my wrinkles as "smile" lines by smiling more often.

How you have blessed your grandma!
What a wonderful way to show her your love. We all should care for our elders if we are able, and my family has modeled that for me all my life.

PortraitofPeter said...

Thank you for sharing such a moving "journal" here with us.

Your post brought back fond memories of my grandparents and how they or we would share all holidays together - the joys of such memories.

Blessings to you all.

Trella said...

What a beutiful post. How wonderful for you and your family getting to enjoy your grandmother like this.
My grandmother always took in people young and old, and now her children are following in her ways.
Have a wonderful Sunday,

Anna S said...

Beautiful post! My maternal grandmother has been living with us ever since I was born. She is 91 years old now, and what a blessing she has been to us! She is kind, intelligent, loving and young in spirit, and she has done so much for all her children and grandchildren. We feel so blessed we can now give back some of the love and care she has showered us with for many years.

Diane said...

Tracy, thank you for sharing your love for your grandparents with us. The pictures are great and your words speak volumes of your love, care and concern for your Grandma. It sounds like a situation that blesses her as much as it blesses your family. What an honor and treat to have this time with her. Please share more about her living with you from time to time. What a blessing, Diane