On Christmas Eve, I opened a gift presented by my granddaughter. The name of the book is “Grandmothers Are Like Snowflakes . . . No Two Are Alike” by Janet Lanese (who I believe refers to herself as “Grandma Jan”) and had started reading it before I went to bed and continued after I got up and after we opened presents. It’s got a bunch of great thoughts and little proverbs and I started reminiscing with many quotes that I read – starting with myself.
Some quotes come with full names. Some are quotes taken from children in which first name and age of child are given. One of my favorite quotes came from an eight year old named Tammy. It says, “I love my grandma’s wrinkles. Every one tells a story” – which is where I got the title of this post.
I don’t feel much like a grandma. I haven’t been with Ester much to make a connection in which we are both comfortable in our roles. She’ll be three in March. Ester is cute and smart and has an amazing vocabulary – pretty much like Jenna did at her age – though I think Ester is a lot more articulate. Maybe not. It’s hard to say as we do not see Ester daily or even weekly.
Tony and Rochelle have been back from Texas for twelve months now, and I doubt that I have seen Ester more than ten times since they’ve been back. I know Tony would like to spend more time with us than they do. They spend more time with her family.
Randy and Carrie also announced that they’re expecting. Even though I do see Randy more than the other two boys put together, I don’t see Carrie even half as often. Right now they live about the same distance from us as Tony and Rochelle. That could change before the baby comes.
I have a friend who had given me a book called “Grandma Time” which contains finger stories and activities. I’ve gone through the book and have used some of the verses – with my niece and nephew and even Jenna, but not with Ester. As a grandmother, I feel distant about it still.
What children expect from grandparent is not to be understood but to be loved. - Grandma Jan
I remember my mom spending time with my brother’s three oldest. She spent time with all of her grandchildren – but those three (particularly Ellen and Kimball) are the ones I remember her spending time with the most. Probably because I, myself, was included – at least in the beginning. I had lost track with Candy. She was three when Roland and I got married. I didn’t actually spend time with Patrick’s children after that. But I always had updates on how they were doing. They spent time with mom at least once a week. She was quite the proud grandmother. She was always looking out for their interests and spending time with them. I can’t say for certain that she had a favorite, but as she got older, she would always express her love toward Brian.
I remember her playing with Jenna. Simple games like finger plays and peek-a-boo to outings to wheeler farm and Disney on Ice. She would take all of us to see Corey’s plays and spring for pizza and ice cream. She had a very giving heart – not just as a grandma, but as a mother. I don’t know that the “skipping children” part would apply.
The secret of a happy live is to skip having children and go directly to the grandchildren – (this is quoted “Momma” from a cartoon character created by Mel Lazarus)
My mom had taken Ellen to the hospital the day that Candy was born so that they could both watch the miracle of her sister’s birth. Mom and Kayla were with me at the hospital when I had Jenna. And even in her dementia state of mind, mom made it a priority to visit Kayla and Anna in the hospital and then Gary when it was time – though she was really slipping before he was born – telling me she could walk to the hospital to see him if she wanted to. She no longer had the sanity to drive and we had taken away her keys. But she knew that Garrett was her grandchild and she wanted that physical connection.
I remember her playing on the floor with Anna – just like she used to do with Patrick’s children. I was happy that I got to see that before her mind got really bad. Before we had to check her in to assisted living.
Different minds. Different grandmas. Jenna doesn’t know her paternal grandmother as well as she started to know my mom. She knows my mom well enough to miss her. Well enough to miss who she was before her mind went.
Roland’s mom has scared her in the past – not intentionally. As mentioned in this post Roland and I are from two very diverse backgrounds. Being with Roland’s family is a cultural shock after being with mine. Something Jenna was not used to. My mom and Roland’s mom are definitely two different grandmas – which is not a bad thing. Just goes to show we are two different snowflakes on two different environments.
There’s an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” when Debra has her parents sharing the same table as the Barones. Marie and Lois of course represent two entirely different backgrounds. Lois is a lot more cultured and well traveled and seems so caught up in fine art and material things that she seems to overlook needs and wants of human kind – including her own children and grandchildren – not quite fitting the “grandmother” image.
Though many find her meddlesome and don’t always agree with her ways, Marie definitely seems to fit the grandmotherly image. She tells Debra that it is not her fault and labels Lois as “not Mother-ish)
Both of Jenna’s grandmothers give and love her. Neither one of them are like either Lois or Marie.
Then there’s my own grandmothers. I have more childhood memories of my dad’s mom than I do of my mom’s mom. Grandma Helen lived in Salt Lake and later moved to Murray (a sub-area of Salt Lake) and Grandma Mary lived in San Francisco. Both grandmas enjoyed traveling – though Grandma Helen seemed to do a lot more when Grandpa Earl was alive and Grandma Mary seemed to do more after Grandpa Ralph passed away.
I was too young to remember all the trips that Grandpa Earl and Grandma Helen took – many before I was even born. I do remember seeing pictures taken when Grandpa had taken the entire family to Sun Valley. I remember when Grandpa was sick before he died. My mom noticed a huge change in Grandma’s personality after Grandpa passed. Mom had said she’d become withdrawn and insecure and given up on life. I was too young to remember what she was like before Grandpa died.
I remember her smile and buying toys and spoiling us, it seemed. I remember her laugh more than any sternness or insecurity. I remember her giving. I remember playing in her big house. It is my understanding that she designed it. She had treasures in her house and rooms to explore. Every time we visited with grandma, there was adventure. Grandma encouraged us to play and enjoy life. At least that is the message I received.
After Aunt Alice moved out, her children encouraged my grandma to move someplace smaller – and someplace closer to her boys – not that we lived that great of a distance from her to begin with. But after she moved into the condo in Murray, I could ride my bike to her house. I could come by myself if I wanted.
My cousin Michelle and I would often stay the night. We would pretend that we were in a hotel. I enjoyed my time with grandma. I enjoyed being spoiled. I enjoyed our friendship. She had taken my cousins and brother and I on a trip to California to explore Disneyland and other adventures.
After high school Grandma Helen and I took a vacation to Hawaii. We went with a tour. She had been to Hawaii several times before and kept on comparing how wonderful it used to be compared to how it was at the time we went together. I wish she hadn’t been so negative, but still made the best of it.
Since Grandma Mary lived in San Francisco, I didn’t see her near as often – though more often than Jenna sees her out-of-state grandmother. We would visit once or twice a year. Sometimes she and grandpa would come visit us or else we would go to San Francisco to visit them.
I would write letters to Grandma and Grandpa. Unfortunately I don’t remember grandma as much as grandpa until after grandpa passed away. After that, I gained a more intimate relationship with Grandma Mary. And I remember going to San Francisco at least once without my family. We took grandma Helen with us on a vacation once. After visiting attractions in Southern California, we went up north to see Grandma Mary.
After Grandpa Ralph died, Grandma Mary would save her money and take trips each year. I remember her sending home material from Scotland. With the fabric, my mom made matching outfits for Kayla and me. Grandma had also gone to Russia, China, and Alaska. I don’t know how many cruises she had been on.
Both of my grandmas had gone to Yellowstone with my family just before my mission. And mom and I have taken trips with Grandma Mary to Alaska, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon.
Kayla, my mom and her mom
Grandma Helen passed away shortly after I returned home from my mission. Grandma Mary passed away while visiting my mom. Roland and I had been married only a short time and I introduced them while she was in the hospital. When we returned for a second visit, her mind was elsewhere and she didn’t recognize me anymore.
shooting the Mendenhall
Grandma Mary and I at Yellowstone park
We have grandmothers who are not biologically related. Jenna calls our former next door neighbor “grandma” and I remember when Ellen and Kimball were little they befriended their next door neighbor as they would a “grandma” and thus she was invited to birthday parties and such along with the biologically related family members.
I love my book from Ester. I enjoy the memories that it has triggered. Those are just some.