Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Today is my Grandma Jeanne's birthday. She and my grandpa are a week apart. How fun is that? A week of celebration and cake. Sounds like a good time to me. My grandma is my favorite person in the world. Allow me to illustrate why.

When I was a young girl, my grandparents lived in Richmond, VA, just a couple of hours from where I grew up. I loved going to her house, except for the part where you had to drive on Sleepy Hollow Drive and outrun the headless horseman. She had the best Southern house. It was brick with a gravel driveway. It had tall trees, beautiful shrubbery, and a badminton court set up in the back yard. She had a mudroom and a sun porch. Instead of a family room, they had a den. In the morning, she always wore an apron and had The Today Show on in the kitchen. I used to climb into bed with her in the mornings and she would snuggle me and let me watch Inspector Gadget while she snoozed. I'm pretty sure being awakened before dawn by a 4 year old was not her idea of fun, but she let me think it was the best time she ever had. 

When I was 7, my grandpa got a new job in Chicago, where they still live today. I went to visit on a special trip with just my mom. Before I got there, my grandma told me she had a bed with my name on it. Man alive, was I ever excited. I hadn't learned what a "figure of speech" was yet, so I was a little disappointed when I got there. But I soon got over the disappointment. I claimed one of the beds as my own (the one near the window, because my sister was afraid of being kidnapped by vampires), and looked forward to every visit. For a long time, we spent Thanksgiving in her house. She always had black donuts and instant breakfast for us. And, best of all, she has a candy dispenser on her wall. It is always filled with M&Ms.

My grandma is always dressed. Her hair is always done, her makeup applied, and she wears shoes in the house. She never had her ears pierced, but she is always found wearing a lovely pair of clipons. She really has the best jewelry. I love her taste so much that when it came time to choose silver when I got married, I chose her pattern. Every time I set a special table, I think about the dinners we had at her house when we used the silver. She taught me that beautiful things are not to be shut away in a drawer, but are to be used to make our lives a little more special.

My grandma is the glue of our family. She keeps up on everyone in our family, which is not an easy task. The main reason I started a blog was so that she could keep up with my little family. She's also on Facebook. How many 88 year olds do you know on Facebook? She takes care of my grandpa, who needs a little more attention than he used to. In short, she's the kind of woman I hope to be.

Have a very happy birthday, Grandma. We love you!
With the Marilyn Monroe statue in Chicago this past fall.


thea said...

What a wonderful post! Happy Birthday to your grandma!

VH said...

Great tribute! She is the best.

And I can't get mad at you about the vampire jab. It is so true.

jlk said...

Van Hauwaerts -- apparently you weren't worried that I would be taken.

patty said...

A few tears. She is the best grandma, isn't she?

teamZ said...

That why I blog too.

VH said...

Every one must fend for themselves when vampires are involved.

Mama Pea said...

I loved your stories. I just love your reminiscing about childhood. I miss my grandmas so much. So cool she has a facebook page!