A Special Kind of Grandma Love

Grandma Kc wrote this on May 23rd, 2014 29 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

When I wrote about my parents getting a divorce when I was about 10 I talked about how unfair it was that the divorce meant I wouldn’t have much contact with my grandparents or my other relatives, something that I have always felt was so unfair. My cousin commented that my Grandma had really missed my sister and me. I had never thought about that.

It really got me thinking about my Grandma. She was very tall and had raised four boys on a farm. She was an amazing cook and was always sewing something. We would always have holidays at her house. She would cook the turkey or whatever and the four daughter-in-laws would bring the rest. The 10 grownups would sit at one long table and the 6-10 cousins, depending on which year, would all sit at card tables in Grandma’s kitchen. In the years after the divorce, I would miss all of this and I still do.

My mother became a Catholic when she was in nursing school but it wasn’t until we were in elementary school that she began going to church again and making us go, too. She really wasn’t very serious about her faith. She mostly used it to annoy my Dad and my Grandparents. I remember when we started going to catechism classes we were still in 1st and 2nd grade and going to public school. We always took our lunch and mom never remembered to pack tuna for us on Friday. I was so embarrassed when one of my classmates asked me why I was eating bologna on Friday. I was embarrassed by what my mom had done and that I hadn’t even remembered!

While I remember my Grandma very vividly, I don’t remember very many times when I actually got to spend time with her without having to compete with all my cousins. We were always there for holidays but I don’t remember ever spending time with her alone until the divorce. Daddy stayed with my Grandparents for a while and once a month I would go spend the weekend with him there. I really liked those weekends because my sister wasn’t even there. Just me, Dad and my Grandparents.

I had completely forgotten about that first weekend visit until I started thinking about Grandma. She may not have been Catholic but she thought it was important that she try to feed me fish on Friday so she had found a recipe for clam chowder. I remember going with her to the more expensive grocery store to get the clams. I had never had clam chowder before but if Grandma cooked it, Grandpa would be sure I ate it — like it or not! I loved my Grandpa but you definitely knew he was the boss. I had heard my Dad’s stories about when he and my uncles were boys. They would have to cut a switch from the weeping willow if they disobeyed. If they didn’t get a big enough one then Grandpa would go cut one himself. I don’t think Grandpa ever spanked any of us kids but we didn’t take any chances either! We behaved! Fortunately, I really liked the chowder, especially with the little oyster crackers she had gotten. I don’t think I had ever had those before either. I think she got them just for me.

Grandma N modeling her dress for my Grandpa — who seems to like it!

This is one of my favorite pictures of my Grandma. She looks so beautiful and I just love the look on Grandpa’s face.

Thinking back on all of that now really makes me realize how much my Grandma loved me. I also know that someday Amara will look back and remember all of the times I stocked the freezer with yogurt pops, the cupboards with fruit snacks and the bottom fridge drawer with cheese slices and know how much I love her.

29 thoughts on “A Special Kind of Grandma Love

  1. Olga

    Grandmas can say I love you with food, for sure. I can certainly see the direct link between your experiences with a grandma and those with a granddaughter.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      My Dad used to tell me that I was a lot like my Grandmother and I think I’ve always tried to emulate her. She loved to sew and I remember when I first started sewing (high school) and found I was very good at it I was sure it was because I got my talent from her; same with cooking because I certainly didn’t get these traits from my mother. I am a much better Grandma than I was mother – better role model even if only for a short time.

      Reply
  2. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    Isn’t it interesting what memories stay with us as we age. I spent every summer, all summer, with my grandparents from the time I was a baby until I graduated high school. Grandparents are special people and time with them should not be used to punish someone. Just yesterday, my granddaughter told me about a dear friend who is going through something very similar. Some things change and some don’t. Amara will only have great memories. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I do think it is everything I missed out on that makes it so important to have what we have with Amara. She spent the night again last night and it was so much fun. Don’t tell her Mom I let her have 2 push-ups!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I am glad you are enjoying my memories Belinda. It was difficult enough having my grandparents taken away from me; I can’t imagine what it would have been like to never have had them at all.

      Reply
  3. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    They both clearly loved you, Kc. Their faces beam in that photo. And this… this says it all: “She may not have been Catholic but she thought it was important that she try to feed me fish on Friday so she had found a recipe for clam chowder.” THAT is what grandmas do.

    I’m so sorry you and your grandmother missed out on so much. Thankfully you do have some great memories — and lovely photographs — to cherish.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Dad took that picture of them. He loved his cameras and Sandy, Jenna and I have often discussed the fact we all have that gene and that he got it from my Grandma! It is amazing the number of photos Dad took of her in the 60s and 70s where she has a camera in her hand! It’s in the genes and now Amara has it too. She bought her first Nikon with money she saved and saved!

      Reply
  4. An Enchanted Cottage

    Oh, I just love that photo and hearing how your grandmother would make you non-meat dishes on Fridays! Amara is certainly a very blessed young lady to have such a special grandmother in her life! I just love all of your memories!
    Have a fun Memorial Day weekend!
    Donna

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thanks Donna! Amara really has 2 very special grandmothers and her other Grandma is only about 30 minutes away so she gets to see her a lot, too! She saw her other Grandpa on Saturday; spent the night with us last night and will see her other Grandparents tomorrow! She is pretty lucky to be surrounded by so much love!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      She spent the night with us last night and as she was waiting for her parents to come and get her she asked me if I had any of her sliced cheese. Fortunately there was one slice left. Whew! Saved again!

      Reply
  5. Sandy Siegel

    What sweet memories of Grama. She was one in a million. Even though I was her step-grandchild, I always felt loved by her. She was such a warm and loving person. Amara is going to have some wonderful stories to tell about her Grama Kc and the great times they had together!

    I have awesome memories of my 4 grandparents. We lived with both sets of grandparents on and off for 12 years. There was so much love in those homes. That’s how I try to make my grandkids feel when they come here .. completely and totally loved unconditionally!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I love that you have wonderful memories of her too that we can share. I think the only cross word I can ever remember hearing her say was “Louie!” when Grandpa would do something she didn’t approve of! They were quite the pair! I’m glad you had them too!

      Reply
  6. Launna

    Grandma’s are the best Kc… my nan was my haven when things were awful at home and when I had my oldest daughter she was there to help me.

    I know that even if you didn’t stock the fridge or cupboards that Amara will still love you because you make time for her, you make her feel special .. that is what she will remember. I can see that your grandma made you feel special by making you the clam chowder …

    This is a sweet story, more people that divorce need to think of the children first. It is seldom a good idea to cut family out. Children need their whole extended family, we have lost a lot of that over the years..

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Amara is really lucky that this doesn’t have to be a safe haven. I am sorry – I do know how terrible it must have been for you sometimes if you needed to escape.

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Don’t you think it looks like my Grandpa is starring at her bottom with that smirk on his face? We always joked that my Dad, his son, was an ass man and he was! Half the pictures he took of my Mom were of her butt! Like father like son?

      Reply
  7. Axiesdad

    How sad that you lost grandparents and other relatives because of divorce. I have only happy memories of my grandmother and “Grandma’s House,” just like the ones Amara will always have.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I think it is because I missed so much as a grandchild that being a grandma is so important to me. Having the best grandchild ever doesn’t hurt either!

      Reply
  8. Kristi

    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I love reading your stories from the past, and I know they mean even more to Amara. Does she read your blog now? While having the stories written down will be a blessing in the future, I imagine Amara would love to hear you tell the stories to her now, too.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thank you! I am really glad I decided to do them. Almost all of the stories that I have posted I told to Amara first although there are details in some of them that I haven’t shared with her. She does read the blog occasionally but not often! She brags about it to her friends and is proud of Grandma for writing it but she doesn’t always read it. Someday she can go back and it will be there for her. She loves having me tell her any story that includes me, her Mom or her Dad! They are often part of the going to bed ritual.

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thank you. I love writing them but I admit I often have to get up and dry my eyes and catch my breath before I can finish. As for Amara being fortunate it sure works both ways – and it also includes how lucky I am to have such a great relationship with her Mom, my daughter. Something that was certainly lacking in my own life!

      Reply
  9. Sarah

    I love reading about your memories with your granddaughter. My daughter Lola, goes to my husbands mom’s house while we work, and it melts my heart everyday how much love my mother in law has for her, like you do Amara. What would the world be like without grandma’s like you guys!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thank you Sarah, there really is something special about grandparent love. I didn’t get it myself until I became a Grandma. It really is the best job ever and I love that I can be such an active part of Amara’s life.

      Reply
  10. Connie

    Oh Kc I so know how you felt. My parents separated when I was 14 and divorced later on and our summer trips to grandma’s house stopped because my mom could no longer afford to take us…grandmas was 1500 miles away. I didn’t stay connected to my cousins and the rare times I see them now I still feel like I missed out because they all chat about when they did this or remember when that happened and I wasn’t there at all. Yes your grandma loved you didn’t she?

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      How sad for you to lose out on so much. I do feel very lucky that when I was about 20 I reconnected with a couple of my cousins and to this day we have a very wonderful close friendship. Technology certainly helps with that! But with the others I often feel like an outsider. I guess that something is better than nothing.

      Reply
  11. Joyce

    I love it when people who had difficulties inflicted upon them early in life are determined to not make their own children (or grandchildren) suffer in the same way. I admire that kind of unselfishness and love.
    Occasionally friends tell me similar stories about their past and I have always said to start life from this day forward by fixing what was done wrong in the past. This is something you have done with Amara and it has reaped fabulous rewards for all of you!

    Reply

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