Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3 - Family

One of the best things I've done in my life is to marry John and have children.  We have four sons--all of them different and all of them wonderful. We also have three terrific daughters-in-law, one of whom is expecting her first child and our first grandchild in November. We are truly blessed.

And that brings me to an aside--grandmothers, a subject which has, not surprisingly, been on my mind.

I was born in northern Ontario and lived with my grandmother, my mother's mother, from the time I was three until we moved to the United States when I was five. I'd see my parents and brother on occasion but it was my grandmother I lived with. I'm not sure why this was; whenever I asked my parents why I was rebuffed. Even as an adult, I've asked my aunts but no one has ever given me any answers. I have some guesses, but I don't know. I'm not really complaining as I loved my grandmother very much and feel very fortunate to have had the chance to know her.  Except for a e few elderly aunts, I think there are few alive who remember her.  But, oh, I do! I do!

She was a grandmother who would patiently answer all my questions and sing me songs and tell me stories she made up. She'd bake little pies, just for me. She loved flowers, especially roses, and was a talented and dedicated gardener known in her small town for her "French" (raised bed) garden. She always had the first ripe tomatoes, no small feat in a place where a heat wave was 80 degrees!

In the summers, she'd let me stay up late to see shooting stars and the Northern lights and make brown bread and butter sandwiches for picnics at the lake. She'd wrap me up in so many woolen clothes and scarves when I'd go out to play in the winter snow I could barely walk. She could enter my child-like world without any effort. When her friends came in the afternoons for tea, which weren't formal affairs at all, I was always welcome and everyone would make a fuss over me. She loved to play the piano and she sang all the time.  She was always smiling.

Early on a dark, snowy winter morning, my mother, my brother and I boarded a train to leave for California to join my father who'd left before us to find a job and a place for us to live. We were entering the country illegally (something which was straightened out years later) so my mother only told me we were going to visit him, not that we we were going and never coming back; she was afraid I might say something about going to live with my father at the wrong moment (we were entering using visitor visas) and be prevented from entering the country.

I can still see my grandmother standing outside the train window smiling, with tears running down her face, blowing kisses as the train began leaving the station.  I couldn't understand all the tears then; I believed we'd only be gone a few weeks, but it was years before I saw her again and then it was only briefly.  In the intervening years we wrote to each other and I've kept and treasured her letters.  She died in 1967.  I still miss her.

I am grateful for my husband, my sons, and their wives, and the little one who is coming.  And I'm grateful I had a kind and loving grandmother who showed me how I want to be when I, too, become a grandmother. 

No comments: