Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not your average grandma

Cutting up celery and carrot sticks and putting them in glass jars of cold water will forever remind me of my grandma.  She always had healthy snacks like this at her house, although we got to have cookies, too.  Two of them, usually Chips Ahoy.  We'd come in after school (she lived across the street from the school) and there would be two cookies on a napkin at the table for each child.  And a Dixie cup with the child's initials on it, maybe filled with Koolaid?  I don't remember.  I do remember that we were given one Dixie cup that was to last us for the entire week.  Think of how small and flimsy Dixie cups are, and imagine what they're like after a week's worth of use.

She might have been a tad thrifty, and I'm guessing that was the reason for the celery and carrots in the jars.  They last longer that way, and I bet she was going to get every penny out of her groceries.  Which is exactly what I'm doing, so I can't really poke fun.

But back to Grandma.  I don't have fond memories of her when I was a child.  She wasn't much fun to be around and didn't make us feel very welcome, but rather more of a nuisance.  I don't understand how someone who had 14 children of her own could have such poor nurturing skills.  There were some small gestures, however.  I do think she enjoyed braiding mine and my sister's hair, and making us banana bread, and crocheting things for us.  But hugs and kisses and thoughtful comments were rare if ever.  It makes you feel weird as a child when a family member, especially a parent or grandparent, seems annoyed or burdened by your presence.

Once I was grown, I got over the bad feelings and was able to enjoy being around Grandma.  I think it was because I knew she didn't have authority over me any more.  I was able to shrug off the childhood memories and even share quite a few laughs with family members who also knew her as their "babysitter."  I also learned of the hardships she experienced throughout her life and came to see her meanness in a different light.  Still, I want my own grandchildren to know a loving, nurturing grandmother.  Because regardless of life experiences, it's never the child's fault.

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