Saturday, April 8, 2017

Grandparents

Jeanie, at The Marmelade Gypsy recently became a new grandparent, and wrote a nice post on being a grandparent.  It made me think of my grandparents, and the different types of grandparents there are. So I decided that my G post for the A to Z Blogging Challenge would be Grandparents.

I had the good fortune to start off with more than the usual number of grandparents.  My mom’s parents were divorced and both remarried.  I was also the first grandchild on both sides of the family. That’s kind of like winning the lottery when it comes to being spoiled by grandparents.  They were all different, and I had a very different relationship with each of them.

My mom’s dad and step-mom died in a car accident when I was six, so I have only early childhood memories of them.  For them, being grandparents was a calling, an occupation, and a hobby all rolled into one.  He had missed out on most of my mom’s childhood due to the divorce, and was determined to be there for everything when my sister and I came along.  She adored children, but was never able to have her own, so my mom, and then later my sister and I presented her chance.

They were the kind of grandparents who snuck us cookies after bedtime, and let us do pretty much whatever we wanted.  They played house, dolls, dress-up, pretty much anything we wanted, with us.

They did things like let me drink juice out of a coffee mug and stir it with a spoon because I loved the sound it made.  Even today, there’s something soothing to me about the sound of a spoon clinking against a mug.

They packed a lot of grandparenting into six years.  I honestly don’t know if I would have such vivid memories of them otherwise.

My mom’s mom, Granny, embraced grandparenting with equal fervor.

My mom has always hated gum, and would never allow us to have it when we were kids, so Granny kept us well supplied with gum.  She would send us huge boxes of gum, with every flavor imaginable.  Mom would make us go outside to chew it, but that was fine with us.

Granny wrote the best letters, and she wrote often.  I loved writing letters as a child, and wrote them on a near daily basis for a while.  She always wrote me back.

She loved shopping, and could always sense a good sale.  She taught me how to bargain shop, and the wisdom of stocking up on things when they’re on sale.

She made the best pumpkin pie.  I have her handwritten recipe for it, and it was her contribution to our wedding cookbook.

My dad’s parents, known as Mama Kitty and Dad Dog, lived a little further way, so we didn’t see them as much when we were kids, but they still whole-heartedly embraced being grandparents.

They came to stay with my sister and me during our other grandparents’ funeral.  My parents made the decision for us not to go, and I don’t think there was anyone else we would have willingly stayed with.

He taught me how to ride my bike.  It didn’t go well at all when my parents tried, but Dad Dog’s method was successful.  He went with me for show and tell when I was in kindergarten (no one else had a Dad Dog, so he was a big hit).

He took me out driving when I had my learner’s permit and taught me not to be so terrified of getting in an accident.

Mama Kitty has always been more of a homebody, so she was largely the one who taught me how to cook, and taught me nearly everything I know about baking.  We always cooked and baked together.  Lasagna, shrimp scampi, biscuits and gravy, cake.  Whatever it was, it was always delicious.

She’s the avid reader in the family, and passed on a love of reading and books.  She’s the person who convinced me that the worn, well-read books are the best when you’re at book sales or thrift stores, because they’re clearly the ones people have read and loved.

I think all of my grandparents helped shape the person (the good and the bad parts) that I am today.  I learned different things from all of them, and was able to have a unique relationship with each of them.  I realize that I was very fortunate to have that.

So what about you?  What were/are your grandparents like?  If you’re a grandparent, what are you like?

12 comments:

  1. Such wonderful memories of your grand parents. So sad your mom's dad/step mom died when you were so little; they sounded delightful in how they treated you the brief time you knew them. I do remember you writing about your grandmother who taught you to cook, and if I remember correctly, wasn't there a grandmother (could be the same one) that instilled a love of gardening with you too? (or am I confused?)

    Sadly, by the time I was born, there was only one grand parent left alive or at least in close proximity, my mom's mom. My dad immigrated from Poland after WW2 and none of his relatives that might have still be alive came to visit before he passed away in 1959. My mom's dad died in 1954, months before my mom had her first child, my sister. My grandmother on my mom's side, the only one alive when I was born, only spoke Polish. We only spoke English (I don't know why my mom didn't teach us Polish). She was also older and bed ridden so we never had much of a relationship with her.

    My mom was a fantastic grandmother to her 6 grandchildren. I like to think I model myself after her. I'm very hands on with the wee one. I have a great opportunity to see him 5 out of 7 days of the week; I think that's impressive and I do realize, both hubby and me, we are helping to shape the person he might become. It is a sobering fact (and this time I'll get it right since I made more than a few mistakes raising my 2 kids.)

    Great topic for the letter G :)

    Enjoying your challenge!

    betty

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  2. I enjoyed reading your memories very much. I hope you will enjoy the weekend.

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  3. Grandparents can help form our impressions of the world as young children. I, too, had wonderful grandparents. My first sense of loss came when my mother's father died, but the memories are great now.

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  4. I enjoyed hearing about your grandparents. Thanks for sharing the memories!

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  5. Grandparents.....I never knew my granddaddy on my fathers side, my grandmother was not at all a friendly woman and she died when I was about six. But my grandparents on my mom side, I knew. Lost my grandfather that I loved so much when I was in the 9th grade. He would call me string bean cause I was tall at my age and skinny. He would sing ...hey, hey good looking to me. My grandmother I had around a lot longer. I was married with my first child when I lost her. She made me the best peanut butter and banana sandwiches and the best choc. pie. Our memories are the things we hold onto forever. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. My grandmother used to write me letters too and I still have the last letter she ever wrote to me. I think it was about twenty-five years ago. I hope I am as good a grandparent as mine were.

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  7. I got so emotional
    I lost my grandparents 6 years back.They are and always will be my favorite people in the world. I wish I could have told them enough number of times of how much I love them
    A Peice Of My Life

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  8. My Nana was like a mom to me. So I enjoyed reading this post about your grandparents.

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  9. My three-year old grandson only has one grandparent - me. And that is too sad. I had one set of grandparents until my teen years, but I also had an aunt who raised my mother and treated me as her grandchild. Those connections are very important.

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  10. This is beautiful, Danielle! I loved reading about your grandparents, and their wonderful love for you and influence on your life. :)

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  11. This is such a warm, loving, wonderful post, Danielle. I remember the comment you made on my post and I am so grateful you shared some of those experiences and more here. What a fabulous influence in your life. And the thing is, now, looking back, I'm sure you know how much your presence in theirs meant to them. Sometimes it takes awhile for a little kid to realize that -- till we grow up! I think grandparents can make a profound influence for they simply love. Pure, unconditional love.

    You were blessed with a great gift as a child which I can see you recognize. I am so very grateful you shared their stories with us. (And by the way -- the letter writing? That's a good reminder for me when our Baby Grand gets old enough to know what mail is -- to send letters and cards!)

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  12. Glad you have such good memories of yours. My last grandparent passed in '96.

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