Each day is a gift. Today was even more so because I spent several hours of it with my mom, grandma, and one of my brothers. Mom and I filled the hour's drive there and back with all sorts of catching up. I love time with her. It's plain to see how much she cares about people.
Pulling up to Grandma's house, I see in my mind's eye the massive trees that used to be by the road. They've been gone for over twenty years now, and I miss them.
The property has changed over the years. The horses are gone. The grape vine, and the white swing set that supported it, are both gone. Some of the beautiful, white fence is removed. There aren't as many apple trees anymore.
Most sad of all is Grandpa is gone. He had a special chair in the family room. We kids would tease him by trying to sit there. He'd tease us by pretending to sit on us, then he'd catch us with his cane.
Grandpa had a rich singing voice (which my dad inherited) and could play the cello; one of my sisters now plays his old cello. He loved technology and was the first person I knew with a home computer.
He also had a roomful of ham radio equipment. He and Grandma took me to a Ham Fest in the '80s. You can imagine my keen disappointment to find out it had nothing to do with pork sandwiches or bacon!
His later years were clouded with sickness; he died too young in 1994. I wish Kris could have met him. I wish all the brothers and sisters who have married into our family could have met him.
Even though things have changed over the years at Grandma's house, it will always be home to happy memories for me. As soon as I walk in the door, it has the familiar, beautiful aroma that I've only ever smelled at Grandma's house. Her house is where she and Grandpa raised their four children, including my dad, and every corner of it is a reminder of the love that has flourished there.
One constant has been Grandma's positive outlook, merry heart, and an unshakable faith in the Lord. (Just writing that makes me think of my mom, too, who is the same.) Grandma has chosen joy and forgiveness over complaining and holding grudges.
Grandma and I share a love of crystal and beautiful dishes and all the fuss that goes into a proper table setting. Food tastes better on pretty plates. Mom always made us set the table properly for meals at home (thank you, Mom!), so I think that persnickety, proper part of me comes from both sides of the family.
The prettiest snow ever always falls at Grandma's house. Looking from the warm vantage of her bay window over a good foot of snow, accented by bright red cardinals, will always bring joy to my heart.
I used to spend quite a bit of time with all my grandparents as a young adult. With Grandma in particular, we would spend time each morning we were together in devotions. She prays for over an hour every day and includes quite a long list of people in her prayers. (As an aside, those who think the elderly in the church are past the age of useful service, are gravely mistaken. I've never met such prayer warriors as the folks whose years of hard, physical labor are over, and their energy and focus transforms into prayer power.)
Saying goodbye at the end of a visit is always hard. I don't like to leave her or the peace that is in her home, though I do feel better knowing how many caring people look in on her.
I will write soon about my mom's parents, who hold just as special a place in my heart. I miss them terribly, but for today, this is all.