My maternal grandmother was a special kind of grandmother.
She was the one who always had butterscotch hard candies or peppermint disks in her purse for when she became a little antsy during those long church services. She always kept a candy dish full of those candies as well as another for chocolate-covered peanuts on her sofa table.
I loved those visits to her house in the country after church services in that small town or on holidays or other special occasions.
She made the best Sunday dinners; the best beef roasts with the perfect, thick brown gravy and the best macaroni and cheese.
The word ‘no’ was rarely used at her house and there was always another cookie or piece of cake for her grandchildren.
Getting our driver’s licenses was a bonus because Granny always left her car keys handy and she never seemed to mind when we’d drive her car around town.
As I grew older, I began to understand that my dear grandmother was that special kind of grandmother who was by far a better grandmother than she ever was a mother. Maybe this is true of most women; I do not know.
I do know that her grandchildren were never on the receiving end of her fiery temper. I do know that we never received the tongue-lashings, or worse, that her children received. I do know that as a grandmother she was very nurturing, patient, and over-indulgent at times.
Maybe she was trying to make up for the kind of mother she was. Her grandchildren knew a very different person.
My mom is here visiting now and I see how she is more patient and easy-going with her grandchildren, much like her mother was.
I am trying hard not to be resentful because now I understand just how hard it must have been for my mother and her siblings to watch their mother transform into this kind, sweet, patient woman.
I know my mom and her siblings had to let go of a lot of negativity associated with their childhood. They had it worse than I ever did so I really should not dare to complain.
I chose to write about my dear grandmother this month because she passed away on December 30, 2006. Getting that call from my Dad early on that day was really hard. I completely broke down and could barely speak during that conversation with my Dad.
Then, I had to explain to my husband why we were cancelling our plans to celebrate our anniversary, which was also December 30.
For years, after Granny’s death, I could not bring myself to celebrate our anniversary because I was still mourning her. Fortunately, my husband understood.
Later, I decided we could celebrate the day before or after or some other time, just not on December 30. In recent years, we have returned to celebrating on December 30 because I finally accepted that I was being ridiculous and Granny would not want that anyway. She would want all of us to carry on and be happy.
We all still miss her dearly. Sometimes I find myself staring at my hands because they look just like hers. Though I keep it in check, I know I also inherited her fiery temper. When one of my dear maternal uncles reminds me of this, I just smile. He is right and I know it.