Redefining Grandma

September 8, 2013


Redefining Grandma
The card stores and blogosphere always seem to make a huge deal of the littlest “holidays”….and yes, those quotation marks do represent sarcasm.  I am sorry, I love holidays just as much as the next guy and I try to get into the spirit, but celebrations touting National S’mores Day just don’t do it for me.

Yes, I love S’Mores, but as far as I’m concerned, in order for something to rate high enough to get its own day, it had better be very special.  So on most days, I scroll through the proclamations dismissing them as product promotions or card store gimmicks and move on.  

Except today.

Today is apparently National Grandparents Day and it immediately makes me think of my mom. My mom is in a nursing home, suffering the effects of Parkinson’s disease…and I am sad. I have written about my mom before, alluding to her illness as I share her recipes and some of the great advice I have received from her over the years, but what I haven’t shared is what a great grandmother she was to my children for many, many years. 

My mom was almost forty when I was born and nearly seventy when my first child entered this world.  She worked full-time, had a very active social life and was an avid traveler, yet she was basically the one and only babysitter my kids ever had until they were at least four or five. 

In essence, she was their second mother.  

She was their emergency contact at school, she knew how everyone liked their noodles and grilled cheese prepared. She was here every Christmas Eve carrying the biggest presents, making cookies and left work early for every school play. She was a constant fixture in our lives and then one day about two years ago, everything changed.

The diagnosis was painfully slow.  

There were falls, breaks, hospital stays and emergencies. There were moves, out of her home, into a siblings', to assisted living and finally when her care became too much and it became clear that she needed a medical facility, to the dreaded nursing home ~ a place we had joked about at many family dinners that she would never have to go.  

I thought for sure that when the day came that my mom could no longer live alone, I would be an empty nester with an extra bedroom and my mom could drink her coffee and read her paper and grow gracefully old, in my home.  

I guess God had other plans.

While I am sad for my mother and all that she has lost and sad for myself and my siblings as the struggling caregivers we have become, today, I am sad for my children.  

They are teens now and their strongest memories of my mother and their interactions with her are obviously the most recent ones, the awful ones, including the melancholy visits where she cannot speak or she weeps. They do not remember the vacations we took together, the weekly family dinners, the shopping trips and sleepovers as well.  

I try to remind them, but it is not the same. 

I have vowed to find the beauty in every day and today, in honor of Grandparents Day, a holiday I have never recognized before, I will try to remember some of the wonderful moments we have shared with my mom and remind my kids of them at dinner. We will wish my mom a Happy "G" Day and be thankful that she is still here with us, that even though she has been robbed of the power of speech, she can still understand our words, laugh and show off her brilliant smile.  

I will try to reframe my perspective and choose to see that while our surroundings and the dynamics of care may have changed, she is still the same grandma on the inside and can still love my kids and make some sweet new memories with them every time we are together.  

Whether our visits are filled with laughter or tears I will focus on the subtle moments of grace.

And hey, who knows.

If I feel like baking, we may even bring her some S’mores.



Sign up for email and follow the fun ~

Tips, tricks, crafts and giggles delivered straight to you!

   

24 comments:

  1. You made me weepy Kim - I remember my own grandmother, whom I remember very vividly still (even the way she smells).. I miss her so and how I wish I could chat with her and my grandfather too.. they would be so happy to see my own kids and I bet they would be excellent babysitters as well..

    Thank you for this wonderful post, adding this holiday to my calendar dear. And I'm sure, wherever your mom is, she's smiling down on your effort. :-) A big toast to your mom dear!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by to read about my mom, Vel. I'm sorry I made you weepy! Seems to be a common comment, I guess that reinforces my thoughts on how important grandparents really are. I'm glad if I could rekindle some lovely memories of your own grandparents. Have a lovely day and hope you're enjoying that stunning new kitchen! :)

      Delete
  2. This was lovely, Kim. I am sad for your children too. I only knew two of my grandparents, and I am so thankful that all four of my children's are still healthy. But you are right - your mom and your kids can still make memories together, even if they aren't under the circumstances you would have hoped they would be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess it's all in the perspective, Dana. I have to change mine to a more positive and accepting one. I am glad that your parents are all doing well! That is a wonderful gift, enjoy them!

      Delete
  3. she sounds like a wonderful woman. I feel that way about my mom. She is my best friend and I can't imagine how life would be if she wasn't around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I told my mom everything and it's a very terrible feeling, Debbie. There are days I feel genuinely lost without her...or the way she used to be, I guess. Not everyone has such a close relationship with their mom, cherish it! :)

      Delete
  4. Kim, what a heartfelt and moving story.(Denise is crying like a baby!) While our mother has been gone a while now, she was in a nursing home those last few months. Nothing is harder, nothing! What can come from this is that our children see how in this situation we can love in the most important way which is through caring for one another in the most adverse of situations. Bless your sweet mother and your family. Just hold tight to each other as long as you can and fill her room with homemade cards and yes, S'mores. Warmest best wishes, Sharon and Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you ladies...sorry for the tears! The nursing home situation is awful, unless you've been through it, it's hard to really understand. However, you are right, it is a lovely facility and the best medical care for her needs right now. We are trying to accept that, give her love and spend time together. I'll get working on those S'mores!

      Delete
  5. Hey Kim, Wonderfully said!! I have similar situations, and of course, these things too, were not in my plans! I am sure your mother was and is still very proud to be your mother, your children's grandmother, and to have been involved in such a large part of your lives! I was very moved by what you wrote. I wish you, your mother, and the rest of your family well. You all will be in my prayers. Trish

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for you lovely words, Trish. I am sorry to hear that you are in a similar situation. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I will return the prayers your way and hopes for better days

      Delete
  6. Kim - I have tears in my eyes as I read this, it is just beautiful. I wish everyone knew your Mom as we do. She is such a wonderful person and I have the best memories of all the times our families spent together. I am sure your girls will always remember special moments with Nene, no matter how big or small. My kids still remember making scrambled eggs with their Nene, it was the only thing she knew to do with boys - no knitting or sewing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jen. Your words really mean a lot and you're right, they do remember some of the good stuff. I just have to keep reminding them I guess. Speaking of memories, I still remember your mom's scrambled eggs! The house always smelled so good on those summer mornings. Sometimes we make eggs, the aroma just triggers so many lovely memories of your mom...including knitting and sewing! I love that.

      Delete
  7. Beautiful Kim. Can feel the sense of loss for yourself and your girls. But also admire your ability to try and continue to make new memories that you all can carry with you.

    Tracy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trying Tracy, I'm trying! The goal of my writing is to keep me focused on finding the beauty and grace in every day ~ including this bad situation. It's not always easy, but the blog is keeping focused on trying...and keeping me honest! ;)

      Delete
  8. Hi Kim,

    What a heartfelt little tribute to your sweet mother! It is evident how much you love and respect her and miss your more active times together. But, you are a good daughter, Kim, and your mother knows this, I'm sure! Keep positive and keep telling your kids all the fun and loving stories of their special grandma. They need to know how vibrant and present she was, and IS, in their lives!

    Take care,

    Poppy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poppy, thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. I love your word "active" ~ what a great way to add some new light! You're right, she may not be active anymore, but that doesn't mean she can't be involved in new ways, other ways! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share your insight! Now I'm REALLY glad that your computer was fixed! ;)

      Delete
  9. Kim, what a wonderful tribute! Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Linda, it was nice of you to stop by and comment! :)

      Delete
  10. As a person who was raised by her grandmother this really made me think! I love the fact that they have a whole just for grandparents they dont get the credit they deserve sometimes.This made me cry but in a good way.Its always good to remember

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grandparents do have so much to offer! Didn't mean to make your cry, but seems like it had that effect on many and memory tears of happy times are good!

      Delete
  11. Beautifully written Kim. This shows that we should each appreciate the little things in life and cherish the time we have with loved ones because we never know what tomorrow will bring. Thanks for linking up at My Favorite Posts Show Off Weekend Party. Hope to see you again next week and God bless.

    Michelle @ On A Wing And A Prayer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right, Michelle, cherish it all today...and I think I did with my mom, as most of us try to do, but it's still sad now. Thanks for stopping by with your kind words!

      Delete
  12. Kimmie, how incredibly hard for you to see your mom like that. Your words are incredibly heart felt and I truly feel for you. Truly. xo Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jen. It is hard, but she is home now and that helps a lot...just having her near to us. xoxo

      Delete

Hey~ before you go, let me know what you think! I love comments and respond to them all. Thanks so much for visiting! *Please note that if your comment contains a hyperlink it will not be published.