This is a bit of a hard post for me because I miss my grandparents a lot. As I have thought about them the last couple days, in preparing to write this post, I have reflected on how much they have taught me. Part of the person I am today is because of the influence that they have in my life. I am grateful to know that I will see them again in the next life.
Grandma Mona-I have so many things that I will remember about Grandma Mona. Most of my memories of her come from when I was in my teenage/college years. When I was in my elementary age years I remember going to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. She had a box of toys that Brandon and I would pull out and play with. We loved rolling balls down her stairs and playing with the marbles. She always made a yummy dinner and seldom would let anyone help in the kitchen. She loved being in the kitchen and she loved cooking. As she got older she would let us help do the dishes afterwards. She always remembered our birthdays and would send us a card in the mail. There was not a year that she forgot (her last few years of life some of us would get multiple cards because she couldn't remember if she had sent a card or not). When I was in college she was always so good to write me letters. They always came to my typed on a typewriter. Often times she would also send me a package of homemade cookies. My roommates nicknamed her the "cookie grandma." I never knew how the cookies would be packaged. One time they came to me in a used cereal bag put inside an empty tissue box and wrapped with brown packaging paper. She never wasted things and always reused boxes/bags (that's why it would be a mystery how my cookies would come to me.).
Grandpa Larry-This is my only grandpa that I still have living. Grandpa is a hardworking man who would do anything for anyone. He will give you his shirt off his back if you needed it! He is a man of service and charity. Grandpa has an amazing talent of building things out of wood. When I was younger he would make me something out of wood every Christmas. I have a cedar chest, coat hanger, wall shelf, doll cradle, and a thimble case. These pieces of furniture are pieces that I will value for the rest of my life. Grandpa loves doing puzzles. Everytime I would go to his house I remember sitting by him and helping him put his puzzle together. They were HUGE puzzles. I would be proud of myself if I was able to place ONE piece. He is a patient grandpa. I never remember hearing him raise his voice. He loves grandma dearly! He always treated her with utmost respect and honor.
Grandma Mary-Grandma Mary was an exceptional grandma! She was there for me many times when I needed her. I really grew close to her when I was in college. I would take weekend trips up to visit her. Going to grandma's house was a way for me to escape my stresses and worries of college. She always had homemade bread and jam (which I LOVED). She would have something hot in the oven for dinner. She loved to bake with me or make candies with me so that I could take some treats back to college. All growing up grandma would pour the milk in my cereal. Finally my first year in college I had to tell her that I didn't need her to pour my milk anymore. :)
One story that I can't leave out is when Grandma set me up on a blind date! My mom, sisters and I were visiting grandma and Karen and her kids were there too. I was out with my mom and sisters when Aunt Karen called to tell me that she and grandma had set me up on a date for that night so I needed to hurry home. I wasn't happy! My cousin Tiffany was also set up with another guy...a double date. I was in my mid 20's and in my teaching career when this happened. Come to find out, the guy that grandma set me up with was only 18!!! YES 18!!! It was only about a month after he had graduated from HIGH SCHOOL! He was waiting for his mission call that would be coming any day. I was not happy with my grandma (or my aunt) but I had to put a smile on my face and go anyway. After the date I would not talk to my grandma because I was upset with her. Now we laugh at it and grandma is probably up in Heaven, watching me type this, and chuckling inside.
I will always remember the last week of grandma's life! She was going downhill and was in the hospital. We knew it was only a matter of time before she would pass on to the other side. I will never forget those last few moments that I had with her. Holding her hand and hearing her tell me that she loves me. I told her that I was going to be training for a half marathon and her response was "Alanna, don't let anyone or anything get in the way of you achieving your goals. I love you and will be by your side while you run." There were some really spiritual things that happened in her hospital room. The veil is thin and I know that grandpa (and others) were very close and ready to bring her to the other side. I know that she had a great reunion with grandpa and her relatives. She is up there dancing with grandpa in her red shoes!
Grandpa Wallace-There are days when I really miss grandpa. He's my grandparent that has been gone the longest. He could make anyone smile on any day. He was a tease. Sitting next to him at the dinner table, if I turned my head I would get extra food put on my plate. You never knew what he was up too...and you learned to keep an eye on him! :) He loved kids and kids loved him. I think I get this trait from him. Whenever he would come to my home for a visit I knew that I would find something in my backpack that I didn't put there. He would find something on the counter, or in the room that he could stick in my backpack. It was his way of saying "I'm thinking of you while you're at school." When I got to school and found the item I would smile. He loved his yard! He always worked hard and took pride in this. He always planted a garden. As he got older, and not able to keep up on it all on his own, I was able to help him with it when I would come out to visit. He loved to be outside. He had a dog named "Skipper" that he LOVED. Skipper was treated like a human! We would joke and call him Uncle Skipper.