Grandma Kay. How do we sum up what she meant to us in just a few minutes? A lifetime of love, support and laughter.
Each of us grandkids have very special memories that we will treasure forever.
Anyone who has heard my Grandparents talk about my demeanor as a little boy, understands that I could be quite a handful. When my parents needed a well-deserved vacation, Grandma Kay was there. My sister, K, and I would spend up to a week with her at a time, and have so much fun, we hardly realized Mom and Dad were gone. When I was 16 or so, I received a call from a friend one evening who needed help. He had decided to go "off-roading" in his 1987 Toyota Camry Wagon. Off-roading. In a Toyota Camry. Needless to say, he got stuck. So I said, "Grandma, I need to take the truck and go help a friend out." She gave me that "I'm concerned, but I trust you" look, and told me she loved me and to be safe. We got the car out, washed the mud off the truck, and Grandma gave me a big hug. I'm still not sure if mom and dad ever found out about that night, but it was one of many nights were I felt like Grandma was saying "I'm here for you, and I love you no matter what."
Grandma was always good for advice and unconditional support. When K was little she had quite the dilemma. Twin brothers BOTH gave her valentines. On the same day. Even in 5th grade when she was stressing about who would be her first boyfriend, Grandma was there. Like she always was for all of us. An ear to listen. A sounding board of reason. While helping K figure out who her first boyfriend would be, years later Grandma would reassure A, “You don’t need a man. You’re too young and need to be single. Have some fun.”
When C was asked what he will remember about Grandma he mentioned moments. Moments where she made him feel happy, joyful, safe, smart and most importantly loved. One of those moments was when B, L, Heather and C were driving Grandma back to her house. He said, “she made me feel not only special, but smart. And I mean really smart. We were talking about something, and many psalms and scriptures from the bible, including not so famous ones, were brought up. Grandma said that I was so smart and knowledgeable about the bible.”
We can’t talk about Grandma without talking about sleepovers. N remembers the play room, and a pink pig that she still has today. She would often want to go home, but Grandma would do her best to keep N occupied and busy. A, S and N all remember sleeping at Grandma’s house. She would never wake them up, but somehow, with that special Grandma magic, she would always have pancakes or french toast, warm on the table. Always. We’d all return home from nights at Grandma’s a little spoiled. But very loved. Making chocolate milk at Grandma’s was always the best. While our mom’s would never allow this to happen, grandma would watch as we loaded the chocolate into our glasses. We still aren’t sure if those drinks were more milk or more chocolate.
K remembers the quality time that 3 generations, her, S and Grandma Kay spent together. A week long trip to France where K was the navigator, because we all know directions were not Grandma’s strong suit. To Monday night pizza, beer and watching The Bachelor together. Those were moments that K cherishes.
When we think of Grandma there are two words that several of the grandkids thought of. Fruit. Salad. It’s not a Family holiday without Grandma’s fruit salad, loaded up on some of our plates.
One thing all of us remember is card games with Grandma. She wasn’t a big card player. But if you wanted to play Phase 10 or Gin Rummy she was game. Heather used to run across the street from her house to Grandma's to play Phase 10 but couldn’t hold all of the cards. She would run to the stairs to sort them out, put them in order, then carefully put them all back in her hand. Sometimes taking a little too long before going back to the table to make her move. C remembers hearing that Heather, A, S and N would all be at Grandma’s playing so he would take off running across the street so he could play too.
A few years ago, the cousins had a game night with Grandma. Dinner, dessert, Gin Rummy and Phase 10. We were all in highschool or older and it was a different experience being together. Just Grandma and us. If we see a deck of Phase 10 cards, we can’t help but think of her.
Grandma always fought hard to stay strong for us. Even as she grew sicker. She never wanted us to worry about her, instead she always worried about us.
She was always there for each of the Grandkids. Graduations, birthdays, concerts, recitals and games. She was there at Shannon and my wedding, and the birth of her Great-Grandchild. LC may not have had much time with you, but I assure you, I will let him know how amazing his Great-Grandma was.
What did we learn from Grandma Kay? We learned about how our parents never did wrong, even when we were SURE they were the worst. We learned how to set a table. Even if meant we had to reset the table. Multiple times. We learned that when you’re done talking on the phone you always say “I love you” and never be the first to hang up. Though sometimes it means eventually having to count down and hang up at the same time. We learned to always wear our sunscreen. Always. We learned that you stand up for your family. We learned that we must always be kind to one another. But, perhaps the biggest lesson we learned from Grandma Kay was that we were loved. Unconditionally. That each of us was special.
Grandma leaves behind a legacy. In the people sitting here today. In the way we live our lives. Heather asked our parents, what traits from Grandma do they see in their children. I have her outgoing personality, K her positive outlook, looking on the bright side of life. Heather has her serving heart and kindness to others. A is family oriented and C has her love and emphasis on the importance of family. S, her desire to put others first and N has her happy disposition.
Grandma we can’t imagine what our lives will be like without your birthday cards full of underlines. Your harmonizing of “Be Present At Our Table Lord.” Your smile to greet us when we walk in the door. Your “I love you so much” with a big hug when we leave your house.
What we can do is promise to live by what you taught us. To carry a piece of you with us every day.
To share with our families about the most amazing Grandma. You.
We love you so much.