I was young when my mother’s mother passed away. We called her Maw-Maw. My only memories of her are of a very sick woman. My mother became her nurse in those days. I do not remember any conversation I ever had with Maw-Maw. My mother has told me that she enjoyed life. She loved dancing and visiting her friends. It must have been very hard on her to have a disabling disease at the end of her life.
My father’s mother, we called Mom. I was married with children when Mom passed away; but, I still never had a conversation with her. Mom spoke only Cajun French and what little we said to each other was translated by my parents when we visited Mom and Pop every Sunday. What I remember about Mom was her reverence to our Lord. She was a very devout Catholic, always attending mass, saying her rosary and getting down on her knees at night to say her nightly prayers. It made quite an impression on me as a young kid to see my two elderly and arthritis-riddled grandparents, who could hardly walk, on their knees beside their bed at night.
You might think I suffered in the grandmother-granddaughter relationship department. You would be mistaken. The Lord blessed me with two wonderful women in my life who were very much a “grandmother” to me.
The first of these wonderful women was a neighbor. Mrs. Anita Larson, “Larson”, was a lonely widow whose only child and grandchild lived across the country. My sisters and I latched onto Larson and we just adored her. She called us her adopted grandchildren. Some of my favorite childhood memories are sitting on Larson’s porch, in one of her big white wooden rockers, listening to her stories. She was always full of compliments for us; the best shot of self-esteem a kid could have! It was a true grandmother-granddaughter relationship. I never felt judged or unwanted. I felt unconditional love. Before Larson passed away, I was able to sit and visit on her porch with my own children. She treated them the same; they too adored her.
The other grandmother in my life was my husband’s grandmother, Mama-Nu. Words cannot describe the beauty of this woman! I first met Mama Nu when my husband and I were engaged to be married. She hugged me tight and said, “If my grandson loves you, then I love you – you are now my granddaughter!” What a gift! True to her word, Mama Nu always treated me as her granddaughter. She had a twinkle in her eye and joy in her heart. Everyone loved her and wanted to be around her. What a special person. It is 15 years today that she passed away, and she is sorely missed by all of her children and grandchildren. It is impossible to think of her and not smile at some funny saying or antic she had come up with!
One day years ago, Mom was visiting us and she was able to walk next door with us and sit on Larson’s porch. She and Larson spoke in French together. Later on, Larson told me that my grandmother said her only regret in life was that she never learned English and could not speak to her grandchildren.
I consider myself very lucky in the grandmother department. I know that I will see them all again one day. When that day comes, I will get to know Maw-Maw and ask her to show me some of her dance moves. I will thank her for the gift of my mother, who she raised to be the most excellent nurse, mother, and grandmother.
I will sit on Larson’s porch in heaven and finally have a conversation with Mom that we both understand. I will thank her for the gift of her reverent and devoted acts; which spoke more loudly than any words could have.
And finally, I will greet my adopted grandmothers, Larson and Mama Nu and thank them for making me their granddaughter! Their love and kindness is what guides me today in my role as a grandmother.
God Bless Grandmothers!