I know I said that most of my posts were going to be relatable, but this post isn’t meant for everyone; instead, it’s written for a special group of people. This post is dedicated to one hard-ass, loving, giving, resilient woman with a heart of gold and the people affected by her loss.
Why don’t I think you’ll relate? Well, from my experience I have heard people tell horrible daycare stories from their childhood, from moving to various daycares to terrible daycare providers and the nightmare stories that coincided. I can’t relate. I didn’t go to daycare. Not really. I mean, in technical terms I guess it was daycare. She just happened to be a lady that lived across the street from a single mom that had a daycare. So opportunistic. Little did my mom know that she was bringing a lady into our lives that would impact us greatly. Grandma June didn’t have to take me in like she did and make me feel as welcome as she did, but she looooved babies, so I had her on lock the moment my mom brought me to her fresh outta the womb. She wasn’t my “real” grandma. In fact, I think all of her daycare kids referred to her as Grandma, (that’s just the kind of heart she had) and she made it so much more than daycare for every child that entered her home. I just happened to be lucky enough to be her last.
I didn’t go to daycare everyday – I went to my grandma’s house.
For example, do you remember the blog post I talked about sitting on the carpet at my grandma’s watching Rugrats thinking about my birthday? Those were my terms of daycare. I didn’t refer to it as daycare simply because it wasn’t. Not in my eyes.
She could be a hard-ass sometimes. I laugh now thinking about those days. She would make me do my spelling words right after school before I could watch Maury with her, and the ones I didn’t get right I would have to redo until I did. She made sure I practiced my cursive (it blows my mind that some people actually don’t know how to write in cursive!) She made sure I washed my hands and my face all of the time (I never understood why at the time). She stopped letting me watch the show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” because I wouldn’t go to the bathroom by myself after watching it.
Things that will always remind me of her – small things like, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle and Tomato Soup, Totino’s Pizza (I still cut mine like she did), people that drive with both feet on the brake, The Young and the Restless, Keloland News at noon and 5, Christmas, quilts, dusting, gardens, sidewalk chalk, tulips, bubble machines,
good hearted people.
I drive by her old house quite often. It brings back memories like learning how to plant flowers. It’s where I gained an appreciation of early morning walks. It’s where I learned what a romper was (I was so uncomfortable all day wearing this tight dress until I realized that there were 2 leg holes, not just one – blew my mind). It’s where I learned that I wasn’t supposed to ask what a prostitute was (well, Grandma, you shouldn’t have let me watch Sally Jesse Raphael then!) It’s where I met some of the greatest people of my childhood. Her kids were more like an aunt and uncles. Her grandchildren were more like cousins. She treated me just like the rest of her grandkids. I even became close to them during my childhood years like you would with cousins growing up.
Kandy – It was the highlight of my day when we would go pick Jim up from work with the windows down jamming to “Watermelon Crawl”. Remember that quilt you and Grandma made me one year for my birthday? You were so slick asking me to pick out the patterns for my “opinion” on a quilt you were making for someone. I was oblivious to the fact that it was for me.
Stephanie, Ozzy, Josh, & Clint – you played a huge role in my childhood. Clint, we were only around each other for a short period, but I want you to know that I was sad when I found out you weren’t coming to Grandma’s with Ozzy and Steph. Ozzy, you always teased me, but it didn’t matter because I knew you always had my back at the end of the day. Steph, we have too many childhood memories to share. One memory I have though is your dad meeting us as we would walk to Grandma’s from school because she was so concerned about me carrying my baritone! I can’t thank you enough for inviting me to come see her last year on her birthday. You have a heart like hers. Josh, you were more like a brother to me. I mean, we saw each other almost everyday for 12 years. You were annoyed by me like a brother would be, and it was my goal to do everything in my power to make it worse as that’s what a sister’s job is. You were the one that taught me how to rollerblade. You were also the one to convince me that it was a good idea to put ketchup on my mac n cheese while Grandma kept saying no. We made Grandma mad because I refused to eat it after I realized how horrible it tasted. I didn’t have words for it at the time, but looking back, you guys were family to me. All four of you have one thing in common – an unheard of sense of loyalty – and I truly believe that was instilled by Grandma. I went to her house in the summer of 2013. It was like time stood still. Everything was exactly how I had remembered it. I want you to know that day she raved about you guys. She was so so proud of you. It made me so happy to see that she had that light even after all the heartache and loss she experienced in her life.
I knew that I was going to get the dreaded message from Stephanie one day, but it doesn’t make it sting any less. I’m crying as I type this, “Grandma passed away.”
I didn’t cry initially when Stephanie told me, but then I saw Ozzy’s post on Facebook, and then Stephanie’s, and the next day I saw Josh’s. I asked myself why all 3 of those posts made me tear up, but her actual passing didn’t. I think it’s because I knew it was her time to go, but I also understood the pain they were experiencing with her passing. I am grateful for the woman that brought these people into my childhood. If it wasn’t for her blurring the lines of “family” I wouldn’t know them on the level I did. They are the only ones who know the love of Grandma that I was able to experience in my younger years. In a sense, she helped raise all of us into the adults we would become.
I love you, Grandma. Thank you for taking me in as one of your own.