Thoughts on Grandmothers

We should all have one person who knows how to bless us despite the evidence, Grandmother was that person to me. ~Phyllis Theroux

I’m sitting in a small room in Metro South Hospital in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. My grandmother had a heart attack yesterday and has 90% blockage in her heart now. Because of her age, the quadruple bypass that would be needed to help is not an option. She just needs to be as comfortable as possible. And then we wait….

Grandma on Mother's Day 2011

Amazingly, she is in great spirits and telling stories, lots of stories. Of angels protecting her. There are two of them, a boy and a girl, that she sees every night in her apartment. Of her husband, my grandfather who passed almost 25 years ago. She remembers the good and the bad, but mostly that they were “over the moon” in love. Of moving from Chicago to live in Seattle or somewhere else because she is tired of her apartment here. But she does not want to go anywhere she will not have friends. Almost 9 decades on this earth and she is thinking of moving?

“I loved their home. Everything smelled older, worn but safe; the food aroma had baked itself into the furniture.” ~Susan Strasberg

Little Me at Grandma's House

Little Me at Grandma's House

Grandma has always been there in our lives. As a child, she often babysat with me and my sister and spoiled us shamelessly. We loved visiting her because she was the BEST COOK EVER. While dinner at home was often chicken, veggies, and rice or something suitably healthy and balanced, my grandmother made fun foods. She made tacos, sloppy joes, pizza, and COOKIES. Oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip, and peanut butter cookies. She also made sweet potato pies, all kinds of cakes, and she had ice-cream. She always had ice-cream. Pretty much everything we had to have in moderation at home, we had a plenty at grandmas house.

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild. ~Welsh Proverb

The funny thing is, when she raised her 13 children, my mother being the fourth of the line, she did not allow them to eat any of these kind of things. When she made cookies, my mom tells me, grandma made her kids wait until the last cookie was done and the kitchen was clean before they could have a cookie. We licked grandma’s batter from the spoon and ate cookies as they came out of the oven. Nice and warm.

Young Grandma

Young Grandma

What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies. ~Rudolph Giuliani

I think we truly learned this from both my grandmothers. Sitting in this room with my maternal grandmother, the last of my grandparents alive, I realize just how blessed I have been to have lived with each of them.

My dad’s mother always made me feel like I was the most special person in the world. She gave the best hugs, and taught me how to sing. She tried to teach me how to play the piano before my stubbornness won out.

My grandpa on my dad’s side was wise and stern. He taught me about values and making good, and Godly, decisions. He loved unconditionally but tough. No nonsense but lots of love. You knew he loved you.

Grandaddy, my mom’s dad, was the cool guy, smooth and calm. I never saw him get upset, though heard legends of his angry days. He was the first grandparent I lost and the first time I had to learn what it was like to lose someone close to you.

A house needs a grandma in it. ~Louisa May Alcott

So this is my last grandparent, and from her I learned to love food. I learned about history and the importance of faith, and I learned how to be tough as nails when needed.

And now we wait …

As such is life.

Be blessed and in relationship,


Adam L. Stanley
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