Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekend With the Grandparents... Part 1

I am 35 years old and still have all four of my grandparents living. I realize how lucky I am that they're still around to tell me stories of times I never knew and to show my children the wealth of knowledge, experience, humor, and love our older generations have to give us.

Yesterday, I went with four of my brothers up to visit my dad's parents. Grandpa Bernie and Grandma Viv are amazing. And aren't they a good looking couple?

I've written about them before. A while ago they moved from the house they shared for fifty years into an apartment in a retirement village in their town. We got to visit the place and it is lovely.

I felt bad because there were a lot of us - check out this picture below to see the crew:

I think we may have overwhelmed my Grandpa a bit. We decided to go out to lunch, and Grandpa and Grandma treated the entire clan to a lunch at KFC. We pretty much took over the restaurant, but enjoyed our time there.

After lunch, we came back to their home and had dessert in the billiard room. Here's a picture of my brother E, Grandma and me after we'd cleaned up from dessert. As usual, E asked me if I needed help, just as the last fork was going into the drawer. I need to learn a lot of his techniques at getting out of things... he's a master at it.

We wanted to get a big picture of the group, and Grandpa had gone back to the apartment after dessert. Grandma and I took the pie plates back to her home and she went to the bedroom to tell Grandpa that we wanted a photo. I stayed in the foyer - I felt like an intruder, but overheard a beautiful scene:

"Bernie, the kids would like to get a picture of us all together." Grandma told Grandpa.

"Oh." Grandpa said, sounding kind of worried. "Do I look OK?" he asked.

"Oh, Bernie, you look wonderful. You are very handsome." I heard Grandma give him a kiss. She said those words in a soft, loving voice that put a giant lump in my throat.

Grandma has a lot to do these days. It's a lot of work taking care of Grandpa and keeping the house in order, but she's doing a marvelous job. And through it all, she still talks to Grandpa like she did 63 (or maybe it's 64) years ago when she married him.

I'm going to close with a poem that Grandma showed to me yesterday. She wrote it in 2002 and told me I could post it on my blog. Here it is:

The Mirror
I looked int he mirror and whom did I see?
A little girl at her mother's knee

Her hair was straight, bangs short as could be

I knew right away that child was me.

I gave the mirror another glance

And there was a teenager dressed for a dance

Her hair was now curled, each ringlet in place

I knew that girl; she had my own face
I stared at the mirror and then I spied

A happy young girl now dressed as a bride

Without a doubt, I knew it was true

This was the day I would say I do

I looked again, for another peek

And saw a woman rocking a babe to sleep

I was that woman, the babe was mine

That time is long past, for it I now pine.

The mirror beckoned and I looked once more
There was my mother coming in the door

The hair was gray which she did never allow

"I'll always be natural" has been my solemn vow

I looked one last time, and what a surprise

To see my grandmother before my eyes.

Thousands of smiles etched her loving face

Worry lines too for they won't erase.

Her hair was snow white, but where is the bun?

Grandmother's hair was long, so I'm that one.
I tiptoed away, the mirror has told
I'm no longer young; in fact I'm quite old

I'll not look again for what the mirror did show
Was a collage of my life as each phase did go.

But this question remains: "Will I ever see
That happy young woman I think of as me?"

Grandma Viv - December 2002

I can see that happy young woman in her. She has always been there.


Steph said...

That was so beautiful I've got a lump in my throat! I miss my grandparents so much.

Travis Erwin said...

GReat post, and you are lucky. I have both my grandmother's but neither of my grandfathers.

Barb said...

Oh my gosh... that whole post was wonderful, and the poem ~ oh the poem just beautiful. You are indeed a lucky woman. I haven't had any grandparents in forever. Never had my mom's parents and I have a vague recollection of my fathers. Cherish every moment and I look forward to hearing about them again.

krobzoo said...

ditto, ditto. awesome post, amazing poem. so cool to see the pics too, haven't see some of those faces in quite a while.

Debbielou said...

How lovely - beautiful poem too. You are so lucky to have Grandparents - even my own children only have one set of Grandparents left living x

Mom In Scrubs said...

The tears are rolling down my face...I'm glad I'm at home!

I've only got one Grandma (mom's) and one Grandpa (dad's) left. They both spoke to each other just like yours, and I always choked up.

Your grandmother's poem is so lovely - thanks for sharing!

Love the fam. photos too. What a clan!

Mom In Scrubs said...

By "each other" above, I mean of course their own spouses. *sniff*

Mom In Scrubs said...

Oh, and your hair looks kick-ass. I love it!

Monnik said...

aw, thanks mom in scrubs! I went and got it 'fixed' last Friday. Got a great cut and color, and along with product it only cost me $200. Gack. But I like it, so that's cool.

Mama P said...

Ahhh... you are the luckiest person ever to not only have 4 grandparents alive, but to see the good in them and articulate like you do.