Monday, February 07, 2011
When I was just a few days old, my grandma started to take care of me. My mom was a teacher and she had to go back to work for the last days of school or lose her job. It was 1978 and that's just how things worked back then. So, at like three or five days old or something crazy like that my mom went back to work and I was with my grandma.
I grew up just living down and around the street from my grandma. Easy for walking or bike riding at any time of day. When my sister and I were in elementary school we spent most of our mornings at my grandmas house and would walk to school from her home instead of ours. She would fix us cinnamon rolls from a can for breakfast and we'd gag watching my grandpa eat his grapefruit.
On Friday short days, we'd walk to her house and hang out after school, eating everything in her pantry and on her candy counter. She used to buy mini reses peanut butter cups in bulk and I'd sit at the kitchen table, unwrap about 20 at a time, and then eat them watching tv or talking to grandma about her day and mine. She never once told me I was eating to many, or that I was being a pig, or that all that chocolate would give me zits. She just let me do it.
My grandma picked me up from school nearly every single day from 7th grade until the last day I actually went to high school. Nearly every day, we stopped at the 7-11. I got a slurpee and got her a hot dog. She'd always give me the exact amount of money and I was always nervous that it wouldn't be enough. Even though I knew it would.
We went on big family trips to Disneyland my entire life. Ross got to go on two of the trips. No matter where everyone was at in the park, my grandma was on Main Street drinking a diet coke or a frozen lemonade and eating a churro.
When I was older - the fours summers I was a college student may have been the best with my grandma. There was sort of a gap in kids, and many summer days no one showed up to swim. Those were the days the two of us spent together in the backyard. We'd sit in the sun, look at people magazines, drink cokes and every once in a while, my grandma would dip her feet in the water - or at least have me splash them because she was getting too hot. Or, I'd sunbathe by myself in the pool and she'd sit on her chair, on the deck and "watch" me - really having a nap. We talked about everything in life there was to talk about. Sometimes, we didn't talk at all.
The day of my grandma's funeral, when I was in the shower and getting dressed, I started to have a crazy panic attack. I was panicked because 1) I felt like I couldn't remember anything. Like my 32 years had disappeared in a week and my memory was shot and 2) I felt like I had nothing, no physical item to remember her by. Like I was in this black hole of sadness and couldn't find a talisman of sorts - nothing to "hold on to".
With my Grandma P. I have beautiful things that she made for me and my boys. Afghans, and blankets and burp cloths that I'll save for my grand children so that I can tell them what a wonderful woman my grandma was.
I realized however, that nearly everything in my house has been touched by my grandmothers, but mostly my Grandma Huber. Towels in my linen closet and sweaters in my drawer are from her. My alarm clock that plays the sound of waves crashing on a beach is from her. She was the best example to me on how to effectively yell at a basketball official and she taught me how to do stats at my uncles basketball games. She started taking us to In-and-Out on trips to California when I was a little girl and so even that is sentimental.
In the last week, through all my grief and sadness about missing my grandma physically, I realized that she's still alive in me every minute of the day. I miss her presence terribly. Through the last week, I've seen her shaking her fist at me, and heard her voice in my head. I've been remembering all these silly little experiences that I thought I was forgetting.
It's funny to think about my relationship with my grandma. She shaped me into what I am today just as much as my mom. There aren't many people in the world who have been as close to a grandparent as my sister and I have been. I don't know many people who were lucky enough to have such an amazing person (people, I had two great grandma's) in their lives.
Every night when I go to bed I'm sad. Every day when I look at my grandma's picture in my living room I'm sad. Grief is such a funny, stupid thing. You move on from it. Eventually it starts to lose its grasp on your everyday thoughts and actions and you become one more step removed. Moving forward in a life that continues to progress.