Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Smiles Today

I always miss my Grandma the most at Christmas. That's when the nostalgic happiness that accompanies my many, many memories of her turns into a bit of an ache. She's been gone for six years now, but so many of my happiest childhood memories, and happiest Christmas memories, period, involve her. I would snuggle up on her couch in a quilt and watch her large collection of Christmas movies. Michael and I would always help her put up and decorate the tree (which in her mind was never complete until Michael had set up the train), and ooh and ahh over the cleverness of the Christmas tree stand that our Grandpa had made out of horseshoes, for a moment "remembering" with her a man we never knew here and yet held fondly in our hearts. We'd pin her little elves to her drapes, hang candy canes just about anywhere they would stay, and carefully put up her ornaments, most of which were much older than we were. She loved Christmas so very much, and was a great gift-giver; every year she swore that she wasn't going to do presents because "there are just too many this year" and every year her little red Toyota would be loaded up with gifts as she made her rounds to the houses of her children and grandchildren.

Of the many stories I heard her tell and retell, one that was always one of my favorites, and certainly one of hers, was the Christmas present she got when she was four. She remembered it being a long winter, because it seemed like her Mom had been in bed a lot. All she wanted for Christmas was a baby doll. On Christmas Eve, her dad emerged from her parents' bedroom, proclaiming, "Here's your baby doll!" and handed her her present: her baby sister, Verna.

I think I loved that story so much because it meant something to me. I spent a lot of hours playing on Verna's carpet, building various things out of Lincoln Logs with my brother, or learning to play various card games at her table. They were the best of friends, and such a wonderful balance. Grandma was all about firmness, determination, being tough. Verna has always been a bit softer, a more accommodating type of personality. I loved going places with the two of them and watching them have fun together.

This year, Grandma's "baby sister" is 90
I wish I could be there to wish her a happy birthday, but a card will have to do. My grandma was born in June of 1916, and Verna was born in December of 1920. Keilana was born in June of 2004 and Kylie arrived in December of 2008. So far, my girls are great friends. I hope I can say as much when they're in their 80s.

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