Memories

The best memories from my childhood took place at my grandparents house. I’m pretty sure it was almost impossible for me to go there and not be having a good time. My mother’s parents were always such a big part of my life.

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My Grandpa has been gone for over six years now, and last week I found out my Grama doesn’t have much longer. She’s had a good, long 86 years, and mentally she is still there, but her heart is very weak, and her body is simply wearing out.

The realization that the next few days are likely the last days I will spend with my Grama on this earth, has been hard. She means so much to me, and I cannot imagine what it will be like to come back to the U.S. to visit, and not see her here. Truthfully, it makes me tear up to even think about it. She’s my last living grandparent, and the only grandparent to have ever known my kids. With her gone, it would be like a chapter of my life was over.

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If you saw her in recent years, you might see my Grama as just another frail woman sitting in a wheel chair in her nursing home, but that’s not what I see.

Here are just a few of the things I see when I go to visit my Grama…

I see catching lightning bugs with my cousins in the summer. Sleep-overs and thick shakes. Skip-bo games, and those dreaded 12’s on top of the pile. Sunday dinners with the family, and Grama is not in her seat because she is re-filling the gravy, AGAIN! I see myself dressed in my Grama’s old clothes, and trying to beat my cousin to the best clip-on earrings in Grama’s jewelry box. I taste that spaghetti that made the Italian in me cringe, but the Dutch in me smile. Those days when I’d pretend to be sick cause I knew my mom had to work, and that meant I’d end up at Grama’s getting the cheesiest grilled cheese for lunch. Begging my mom to let me ride my bike “all the way” (around the corner) to my grandparents, because I knew my Grama would have a glass of her iced tea, and Vienna finger cookies waiting for me. Crumb cake, cinnamon bread, and those amazing chocolate almond bars she knows I love so much. Those early mornings when my mom would bring us to my grandparents before school, and we’d have chocolate milk from a glass pitcher, and Cheerios with limitless spoonful’s of sugar on them. Hazy, hot and humid, Long Island Augusts that were spent cooling off in that air-conditioned house. Playing office in a closet and writing on the basement walls. Trips to Orient Point where I’d almost pray for a thunderstorm, because it meant sitting up and listening to my Grama and her sister tell old stories about growing up in New Jersey. I could go on and on…

Time has changed many things, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how much my Grama loves her family. When I first moved to El Salvador it was hard on everyone, including my Grama, but even from her nursing home she has been a big supporter of my family and our mission work. She would always tell me, (and still says) that she prays for me all the time, and her prayers have meant so much to me over the past few years. She has also helped us do a fundraiser at her home, and last year she had people donate money to our mission in her honor instead of giving her gifts at her birthday party. (Both of which you can read more about in previous posts on this blog.)

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My Grama grew up in a time when society still considered being a stay at home mom an important job, and my Grama sure took pride in her work. She would do anything for her family, and was more than happy to tell others how wonderful her kids and grandkids were. I am so thankful that my boys have been able to spend so much time with my Grama over the past years and know first hand why she is so special to me.

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They say my Grama’s heart is very weak, and I can’t help but think that it’s because she has spent so much of her life giving her heart away.

A Grama’s Heart

I love my Grama. She has such a good heart, and really loves her family! Ever since I was a little kid, she has always been one of my biggest supporters. Whether she was coming to watch me sing a solo in a Christmas program, or cheering me up with some of her yummy baked goods on a bad day, she has always “had my back”!

Well, I’m not a little kid anymore, but she continues to show me her love and support all the time.

Whenever I am in the States, I am sure to spend a lot of time visiting my Grama in her nursing home. When I am there, she always tells me the same two things, “I pray for you every night” and “I love you very, very much”! Even at 2 and 3 years old, my sons know that whenever we see “old Grama” or talk to her on video chat, that she will finish by reminding us that she prays for us and loves us!

When I first moved to El Salvador, it was hard for her to see me go. I remember clearly saying goodbye to her and my Pop-Pop, and praying that I’d see them again. I think the fact that my Pop-Pop died less than two months later, and I never got to see him after that day, has really made me appreciate the visits I have had with my Grama over the past five years.

When we first started, Hope and a Future Missions, my Grama was full of questions about the work we do, and the people we help. After hearing about the needs of people in El Salvador, she helped us with a fundraiser, selling crafts with the red hat society at her nursing home.

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Yesterday, my Grama turned 85! When my mom first told her that they were going to have a party for her birthday,540599_10200500708432929_1687904414_n[1] one of the first things she said, was that she didn’t need any presents. After talking it over with my mom, she decided that if people wanted to give her something, that they could make a donation in her name, to our mission. Thanks to her friends and family, $175 were donated to Hope and a Future Missions, in her honor!

We are so grateful for this donation, and my Grama’s willingness to help our mission! We look forward to using the money in June, for our Vacation Bible School. It will allow us to purchase supplies for the kids, and food for the families of kids who come!

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I may not be able to see my Grama as often as I’d like, but I still “pray for her every night”, and “love her very, very much”!