Mother, having lived through the depression, lived frugally, and most gifts she gave did not cost money. However, she never came to see us without bringing stickers that had come in the mail, little scratch pads or pens she had picked up somewhere, coloring pages her hometown was using for coloring contests etc. My kids would sit down with their little bag of treasures and think they had hit the jackpot! She would sew me new hot pads out of scraps of material. She would cut up towels and sew them into dishrags for me. Nothing went to waste she thought might be of use to someone she loved. In a time when big expensive gifts is the norm, she was an example of a love that didn’t have a price tag. And even though expensive gifts were not a part of her grandparenting, there was not a more loved Grandma ever, as best described by the words my daughter Karen wrote on the day she passed:
“My sweet Grandma is sitting with Jesus right now! Not only Jesus, but also her husband and her son she has not seen for over 40 years. Can you imagine? Can you imagine the reunion? Can you imagine leaving behind a 103 year old body which no longer functioned and stepping into a new, young, body and walking straight into the one that loves you more than you could ever know? The one who created love, the one who created you? And then seeing two people who were so dear to you and you had spent almost another lifetime missing? I can’t. I cant even begin to imagine what it felt like for her…. but I love trying! I love the thought of this sweet, precious woman finally being there! The tears are flowing freely this morning and I can’t decide if it is because I am so happy for her or if it is because once I heard she had passed, I realized the deep impact she had on my life. Grandma Terry was always there surrounding us with love and security. She was not a flashy Grandma. She rarely bought us things and did not have cabinets full of sugary foods, the only exception was a tub of sherbet in her freezer she always enjoyed sharing with us kids. I don’t remember a single toy being in her house, but she had a bucket full of marbles we would play and play with. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on those marbles and later my own kids ran for them when we went to visit her. No, she didn’t provide tons of gifts or entertainment, but what she did give was love, unconditional love. The kind of love as you get older, you realize is the truest, purest form of love. Anytime Mom needed her to come and watch us kids, she was there. Whether it was because Mom was going to the hospital to have a new sibling or was driving the tractor for Dad, Grandma was there, taking care of us. We would spend hours playing Yahtzee. Oh! How I can still hear her voice when she would yell out YAHTZEE! and always with a giggle afterwards. Every time she was there, she would gently remind us we needed to be helping our Momma more and would make every single one of us help clean up the house. She was so full of wisdom and Godly advice, and she would deliver it with such grace, even if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear, you didn’t feel a bit offended. When she would hug you and tell you she loved you into your ear, you knew she really meant it and you knew she had a deep sincere love for every single one of her 17 Grandkids and 60+ Great Grandkids. She was the sweetest with new babies. She would just hold them and sing to them and it seemed she was just really enjoying meeting them and was trying to weld into her memory this newest person of the generations below her.”
My daughter’s words, but they could have been written by anyone of her children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Another memory we all hold of her simple love of family fun was our Thanksgiving Day BINGO! She had us all bring “white elephant” items, things we no longer wanted at home, and they would become our BINGO prize table. She was always the BINGO number caller and tears are falling as I type this recalling her enthusiastic B-14! or I-25! ringing through the kitchen at the end of Thanksgiving Day. A memory my daughter Jamie cherishes is being at Grandma’s house and Grandma would put one of her old-time music records on from the forties and Jamie would dance and dance in her living room. And for dinner, they would always have a simple potato soup made with potatoes, milk, celery and cheese. Jamie says it is her favorite food ever!
In this day of crazy spending in order to parent, grandparent or stay entertained, in this day of more and more technology, I think my Momma, a member of the greatest generation had and still does have, a lot to teach us about living, loving and raising kids. As Karen said, the truest, purest form of love that she freely gave involved neither one. It did involve time and commitment, something too many of us are not willing to give, but she gave abundantly.