Betty Boop. Sandies Cookies. Lawrence Welk. Dearfoam Slippers. Wheel of Fortune. Rice Pudding. Lime Jello salad. New York New York. A’s Baseball. Croatia. Creme Soda. Leopard Print. Root Beer Popscicles. Necco Wafers. Crossword puzzles. Nabisco. Tom Jones. Egg salad sandwiches. Englebert Humperdinck. High heels. Loard’s Ice Cream. Sees Candy. Dancing with the Stars. Birthday cards, anniversary cards, Valentines cards and a hundred thousand “I Just Called to Say I Love You’s“.
Each word above has the power to bring Grandma to mind.
Before I go any further I need to tell you how sorry I am. I’m sorry you didn’t have the best grandma –because I did. I had the best grandma in the universe. Hard to believe? Yeah, maybe I need to rephrase that.
I had the best grandma times infinity plus one more number than you.
At 95 years old, Grandma passed from here to eternity holding the hand of her youngest daughter. Hollywood couldn’t have written a sweeter ending. But, makes sense. Her family was her world.
Grandma lived for Christmas and Thanksgiving, birthday parties, baptisms and anniversary gatherings. She attended hundreds of soccer games, baseball games and dance recitals. When I was a little girl and money was tight it was Grandma who bought us shoes and school clothes. Years later, when my mom was sick it was Grandma who hired a nurse to be by her side to help assist our family. Grandma’s heart beat for her children and grandchildren which was the magic of her years.
In her lifetime she attended her eight grandchildren’s wedding, taking her place of honor at the front of the church each time. Her grandsons were privileged to walk her down the aisle, and we’d all smile with anticipation as she made her way down loving the spotlight.
Grandma sat for hours in waiting rooms for dozens of grandchildren, including many of her nineteen great-grands (as she called them). Each one gently placed in her arms for a special snuggle and the most important photo op of their new life.
Being her first grandchild, I had a special connection with her. I always tried to get her to admit I was number one but it was like pulling teeth because she loved ALL her grandkids so very much. They were jewels in her Grandma-crown and she’d talk to anyone who would listen about each one.
My forty-seven years have no important memories without her. But, it was her phone calls that meant the most. I talked to her numerous times a week. As recently as this summer, she’d call and say, “I just had to call ‘my Joey.'” No matter how old I got, those words filled my heart to bursting every. single. time. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I went to Grandma’s house to share the news even before my own parents.
This past year has been very hard on all of us, especially my aunts. They’ve been caretakers and healthcare advocates and I thank God for their love and support. “Mary’s three girls” were the twinkle in Grandma’s eye. They showed how much they loved her by how they cared for her.
What is Grandma doing in Heaven right now? I’m sure there was quite a welcoming party. And, boy did my Grandma love a good party. She was quite the dancing queen. No doubt, Grandma is telling everyone about her newest great-grandchildren and her granddaughters and grandson-in-laws. Eternity won’t be long enough for her to brag on each one.
Grandma’s first love, Johnny Allen, passed away leaving her a young widow with three little girls to raise. If you met her you know her story. And, by “met her” I mean if you ever talked to her in line at the post office or while perusing The Nordstrom Rack. She was quite a people person.
Grandma married her second husband, band leader Mickey Cusumano, when she was in her forties. “Grandpa gave me a beautiful life.” She’d say. But, Grandma outlived both her husband’s and her fear was seeing them In Heaven at the same time. I would tease her,”Whose arms are you going to run into first, Grandma?”
I Know Who Grandma Hugged First
When Jesus walked Grandma into Heaven I know whose arms she ran into. I know who she hugged first. She quickly scanned the heavenly crowd filled with her mom and brothers but her head was on a swivel, the way she entered Banchero’s or Elio’s searching for friends. Walking through the gates of Heaven Grandma focused on one face–her daughter’s. It’s been years since she’s seen her little girl. I can only imagine how thrilled my mom is this week to be reunited with hers.
95 years with your grandma is an incredible blessing. I know she is the happiest she’s ever been–and can now hear perfectly. Sympathy seems almost silly when your grandma lives to be almost 100. But, our hearts don’t tell time and mine is broken. Heaven added a beautiful soul to it’s population but I lost my biggest fan and prettiest cheerleader.
Grandma, your heart will always beat with mine. Because of you we know how to love well. Thanks for “starting all this”. Your legacy will continue with each one of us. Give mom a kiss for me.
Love, your number one GRANDSON.
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” 2 Timothy 1:5
“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6
Share a little about YOUR grandma in the comments below!