This past Sunday was Grandparent’s day. It also would’ve been my Grandmaw* Wright’s 84th birthday. She passed away in 2008. I miss her a lot. I was very close to her.
My grandmaw lived with my mom for most my mom’s life. Moma** married at 21 and moved out. 6 years later Grandmaw left Granddaddy, moving in with Moma, where she lived until Granddaddy got diagnosed with cancer. She then remarried him (because she wasn’t going to just live with him) and moved back to Texas to take care of him. So for about 5 years she lived in Texas again. Then as, whatever disease she had, began to take away her safety she moved back in with Moma. So I lived in the same household as my grandmaw Wright for most my childhood.
I have great memories of her. Like the time she was roller skating with me. The end result was that she fell and broke her arm. I’m sure that wasn’t the only time but it was definitely the most memorable. Grandmaw did things like that with me growing up.
Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorn farts. We butted heads often, especially as I hit the teenage years and carried my feelings on my shoulder. I was easily hurt and Grandmaw had a mean picking streak (it definitely runs in that side of the family). She didn’t do it to hurt, I don’t think, but more to get a rise out of me. And it succeeded often; after all I was in the mist of teenage angst. Moma jokes she’s the reason I spent so much of my teenage years in my room. Moma told me how to deal with Grandmaw and I finally listened.
I remember the first time I tried Moma’s advice instead of getting hurt and angry turn it around on her with humor, and don’t take it personal. So Grandmaw said, “Missy you need to go put on makeup,” to which I replied, “careful what you say Grandmaw I look just like you.” She grinned from ear to ear. After that I learned to pick back instead of being so sensitive.
And I had been told all my life that I looked like her. As I was a kid I cried and said I didn’t have wrinkles! Out the mouth of babes. Perhaps that’s why Grandmaw was getting me back. Hehehe. I do have her blue eyes though her eyes were such a pretty blue they put mine to shame. Uncle Tommy, her brother, also has those blue, blue eyes.
Grandmaw sang the song “You Are My Sunshine” to us grand-kids growing up. That song forever ingrained on my heart as my Grandmaw’s song. The song makes me think of her and always brings a smile to my face.
She also taught us a dirty little ditty much to her enjoyment and our parents’ horror. It goes like this “Went down to the river, to take a little swim. Pulled off my britches and I hung them on a limb. Kicked off my shoes and threw them in the grass. Jump into the river up my…” At this time she would make a woo hoo sort noise editing the song.
Sometime, I’m not sure when, I started singing songs to her and making up my own. I would sing “You Are So Beautiful” but add words and sing it off key on purpose (more than normal). [If you’ve ever received a birthday song message from me, not as bad as that!] It eventually evolved to me making up a whole song. The lyrics go: I love my grandmaw and she loves me. We look just alike. We’re beautiful can’t you see. I’m her favorite and that’s the way it should be. Cause I love my grandmaw and she loves me.”
Grandmaw loved this song. I would sing it and she would grin. But when Max was little and I sang it in front of her and it got to the favorite part… well she was not happy. Grandmaw laughed so hard at Max’s face when I sang that part. It became a game then between the three of us. I’d sing the song, Max would argue, and Grandmaw would laugh. I made a stuffed animal or two with recordings of me singing “You Are My Sunshine”, the “Went Down to the River” ditty, and my own “Ode to Grandmaw” so she could hear them anytime (and because I’m a nerd like that).
Grandmaw thought I was funny most the time. Well except those times she wanted to strangle me. Hehehe. I learned how to be ornery from her though. 😀 Staci would often tell Grandmaw not to laugh at me I wasn’t funny and that of course made her laugh more.
There was a lot of laughter (always was growing up, I was blessed.) I always maintained I was her favorite. I still do in fact. I mean I can’t stop now I almost have them convinced. 😉
I spent time with Grandmaw after I moved out. Because I live so close to Moma I was over there often. Sometimes I’d just go over and sit and visit with Grandmaw. I remember lying on the couch with my head in her lap and she’d rub my back. I miss that a lot.
Sometimes I’d call and chat with her. Sometimes on purpose but sometimes by accident. Whenever Moma was a work and I was trying to call her I would call Moma’s house half the time instead of the shop. Grandmaw would answer and I’d either tell her I had called the wrong number but God must’ve thought I needed to tell her I love her or I’d chat with her a bit before letting her go to call Moma. After she died I remembered calling the wrong number once again and my heart breaking because she would never answer that phone again.
When she passed I was so thankful that I had so much time with her. Because she lived with us, because I stayed close to her, because I talked to her on the phone often, I felt like I had won the lotto. She was gone and I miss her but I have so much to draw on, so many memories, and I am damn thankful for each and every one. And (just in case some family reads this) I am thankful to be her favorite! 😉
Today’s hug is a bit melancholy but I honestly meant it as a joyous celebration of the many years I had my grandmaw. It is meant to celebrate her.
Find your joy and laissez les bons temps rouler!
*I had a Grandmaw Wright and a Grandma Taylor, hence the spelling.
** I was taught to spell my mom’s name as Moma others were Mom. It’s a personal thing.