Tuesday, March 18, 2014

SOL 18 of 31 -- Remembering Grandma

In August my family got to visit my grandma in New York.

She and I were never more than acquaintances, we spoke politely on the phone a few times each year, mostly about the weather or my latest activities. She sent birthday, Christmas and Easter cards, usually with a one dollar bill inside. And this was typical for my extended family.  I saw my other grandparents about once every other year.  I saw my aunts and uncles maybe half a dozen times in all my life.

Now I see my daughter growing up with SIX grandparents in the Denver area who see her regularly, 2 great-grandparents who live just down the street and an aunt and uncle not far away that we see a few times each year.  Wow! There are always plenty of doting adults at all our family gatherings!  As a child, I had always wished for that kind of family--big family.

So it's been as an adult that I have seen and felt the joy of family.  When Max, Clara and I were heading east this summer, I made it a priority to go a little out of our way to visit my Grandma.  She was 93.

Grandma had prayed for me to get pregnant.  She cried when we announced our pregnancy.  This level of emotion shocked me coming from someone who barely knew me.  As Clara got old enough to talk on the phone, she talked to "Great Nana" almost every week during her time with my parents.  The extent of their "conversations" was usually a song like The Itsy Bitsy Spider, but Clara "knew" Great Nana and Grandma was extremely touched.  She only said to me (the few times we spoke) that she wished she could just "give that girl a hug."

And that's what we did.  We arrived at her house on Long Island mid-morning on August 8. Grandma cried when we arrived and gave us all hugs--but especially Clara.  We spent three hours with her in her house.  We ate pizza (NY pizza!) and then continued on our journey to Maine.  After 3 hours, she was noticeably exhausted.  She didn't really want us to leave but she had no more energy for us to stay.

Clara brought one of her paintings for Great Nana.
Here she is telling Great Nana about it--it contains characters
from the Wizard of Oz.

Three months later, just 2 weeks after her 94th birthday, she passed away.  I am eternally grateful that she got to meet Clara.  I think her soul and Clara's had a cosmic connection and that belief makes me happy, it brings me strength.  Even small, distant families can have some strong ties.

Antoinette, Susan and Clara
August 8, 2014


  1. My experience growing up is the same as you describe - I'm so glad it was different for my children and I'm going to make darn sure I see those grandkids when I get them!! You are so lucky to have had the opportunity to make that connection with your grandma, mine passed before I knew what I missed.

  2. Some of my best slices done when I have no idea what I'm going to write about until I sit down and write it. Love this story. My grandmother is 99 and lives far away and I'm grateful each time I get to see her.

  3. For a surprise slice, it is a lovely one, one of those things that will give a pat on the back because you made it happen every time you remember, Susan. I suspect that it will be important for Clara to see this in the future too. Loved it!

  4. I was thinking about my uncle this morning and trying to count up how many times I'd seen him in my life (less than ten I think). Like you I was never more than acquainted with my grandmother. My son is growing up with a host of relatives--I love that too. Sweet slice.