Recently when I was organizing a few dishes in my china cabinet (by the way, I own no genuine china), I ran across a few old cup and saucer sets that first belonged to my grandmother and then my mother. Seeing them made me a bit nostalgic as I paused and remembered…
Of course I had two grandmothers. My dad’s mother is not a face I remember well, as she died when I was very young. I may not remember her face very well, or even much about her at all, but I do remember her hair. I caught her brushing it once. Even at my young age, seeing it undone and falling loose from its usual pinned up bun style I was awestruck, embarrassed and maybe even a bit afraid thinking that I was going to get into trouble for disturbing such a private ritual. I remember how she just smiled and kept on brushing it as if she hadn’t noticed me staring.
My other grandmother I do remember well and one thing I remember most about her is all the dishes she had, including sets of lovely hand painted cups and saucers used for special coffee times.
My grandmother was the first to introduce me to the pleasure of drinking a good cup of coffee. Some of my fondest memories are of us sitting around her kitchen table sipping coffee. Of course, usually there would be cookies or pie as well. At her house there was always morning coffee time, afternoon coffee time and sometimes evening coffee time as well. These were rituals everyone who came to her house followed.
There are many things I remember about my grandmother, but what I remember most is the gift of unconditional love she always offered her grandchildren. She never spoke ill of any of us, even though we were of course far from perfect. The thing is, she wouldn’t allow anyone else to either, not while in her presence anyway. She would immediately come to our defense if someone said anything bad about any of us. We could always count on her unwavering support and I think this made us all work harder at not disappointing her. We wanted to be as good as she thought we were, even though of course, we all knew we were not.
Sometimes I wonder how my grandmother would have felt had she known that all three of her daughters would someday face breast cancer, and then a granddaughter would as well. Not “defending” us or being able to keep us from harm would have been really hard for her. Had she been around, her support through cancer would have been unwavering as well.
On every day, but especially as Mother’s Day approaches, I remember my mother of course, but I also think about how fortunate I was to grow up with a grandmother like that. I know cancer robs many families of this very thing, the unconditional love of a grandmother. I’m grateful my children knew their grandmother and felt that special kind of love. I’m grateful they have another grandmother around and can feel it still.
Here’s wishing a happy Mother’s Day to all women who love and nurture children.
And you don’t have to be, or ever have been, a mother to do that.
Do you have a memory about a grandmother or another important woman in your life to share?
What are your Mother’s Day plans?