Today is Grandmom’s birthday. Grandmom had a pretty good birthday, and so did we.
I want to tell you about Grandmom. In 1989, my Daddy was granted full custody of me and Aunt Morgan. All three of us moved in with Grandmom and Grandad. Grandmom was about to raise two more kids. She was the second oldest of 9 kids, then she had 5 of her own, and then we moved in. Grandmom was always taking care of kids. She was a huge help to her mother, then raised her own, and then helped raise me and Aunt Morgan. Raising kids is one thing Grandmom knows how to do.
When I was growing up, Grandmom was always cooking. Always. We had a dessert with every meal, homemade snack during the day, and a large supper every night. Most mornings Grandmom made breakfast too.
Grandmom did a lot of laundry while I was growing up. I can always remember her out at the clothes line or ironing. She ironed just about everything the whole family wore. I can remember calling her name when I couldn’t find her, and she would usually be in the utility room and say, “Woohoo!” She always kept our clothes looking nice and smelling great. I don’t ever remember having to do any laundry or dishes.
I had a few issues after my Dad got custody of me. I was scared people would kidnap me, had crazy dreams, and some strange hygiene issues. Grandmom would always comfort me and assure me that if anyone “ever tried to get you, I’d beat them with the fireplace poker!” Surprisingly, I really thought my 5 ft. Grandmom could do it. She could do anything.
Grandmom took the place of our Mother when most grandparents were enjoying an empty nest. Grandmom put up with my teenage smart mouth and disrespect without missing a beat. I’m sure there were times she wanted to strangle me, but all Grandmom ever did was love me.
Grandmom didn’t miss any basketball games, volleyball games, and was never late to pick me up from anything. I never had to wait on her, but she was constantly waiting on me.
My Grandmom was the best mother I could have ever asked for. When I would pout about not having a mom around, all I had to do was look at the Grandmom I had right in front of me. Grandmom was beautiful inside and out. She loved me and Morgan like we were her own, and since we were grandkids, I think she loved us more. To say I took Grandmom for granted growing up is an understatement.
Grandmom was very excited to welcome you into the world. She and Grandad spent a long day at the hospital to welcome you into the world. Grandmom had another baby to raise. One of her favorite things is holding a baby, and Grandmom always knew how to hold one to make them stop crying. Grandmom was one of the first people to hold you after you were born.
Grandmom has always looked forward to you coming to visit. She loves to read books to you and watch you play.
Riley, I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you know your Grandmom. The only bad thing is that we know two different Grandmoms. Right around the time you were born, we started noticing signs of Alzheimer’s in Grandmom. Alzheimer’s disease has taught me two things: to love more deeply and unending patience.
And today as we celebrated Grandmom’s birthday, I just wanted to remind you of the Grandmom you are lucky to know. Grandmom loves you, and I know she would beat someone with the fireplace poker for you too. She picks up the toys you drag out and she cleans up the juice you spill. But mostly, Grandmom loves you, like she’s loved all the kids she’s raised. You truly are lucky.
Maybe next year you can sing “Happy Birthday” to Grandmom, I know I will.
I love you, Riley, and I love, love, my Grandmom.