This lady is one of my favorites. Today, 84 years ago, she arrived on the scene. I share her name as my middle name. I share her love of peanut butter (although not with imitation crab), her stubbornness, her faith, her adoration of all things family. I keep a reminder about the day she left this world, but I like to specifically remember her today – a Christmas baby.
My eldest daughter shares her mother’s name. My second daughter will share her name. I love thinking about this next one in terms of her great-grandmother. The maternal lineage in my family is not simple. Strong women raised strong women, and sometimes relationships were rocky. My Grami always gave me safe haven.
I spent my spring breaks in college with her, at her retirement village. She would take me shopping, because she hated me in black (I looked like “death warmed over.”) We would sit on the lanai, drink highballs, play rummy cube. Always full of laughter, curse words, and honest opinions, my Grami was fabulous company. Later, after a hurricane chased her from Florida, we would have snicky-snacks and chardonnay while discussing everything under the sun. She called me a shithead while giving the blessing at my wedding reception. She was beautiful, strong, determined.
She gave of herself completely – honestly. She worked very hard, keeping the family of girls together as a single mom with no support. I want my daughter to inherit these traits, although – to be honest – I hope she can skip the hard parts of my Grami. I hope she doesn’t have the heartache or heartbreak that shadowed the elder’s life. I hope she never has to give counsel to her granddaughter about the weaknesses of her daughter.
My grandmother meant very much to me. I cannot believe it’s been more than six years since I heard her voice on the other side of the phone. I hope she’d be happy I’m naming my daughter after her (her and her grandmother). I hope she guards over her namesake and teaches her how to cheat at cards. I hope she watches both of my daughters grow up to be strong, determined women. I hope she knows how much her love filled me when I most needed to be filled.
Happy birthday, Grami!