27 March 2008

Please Indulge Me

This is absolutely off-topic, and way more personal than I usually get here, but my Mom-Mom's memorial is tomorrow, and somehow, it seems right to post this. If I can manage it, I'm going to share it at the service. My Mom-Mom was the ultimate woman. Her poise and grace are always evident - as you can see at 86 at my sister's wedding (on the arm of my handsome brother).

H and I were talking, trying to figure out if I could manage to do this.

“She was a sweetheart,” he said. And I laughed.

Then I stopped myself. I realized that most of us who know her wouldn’t use that word to describe her. Not that she isn’t – he’s right, she is – but we all know her as strong, independent, determined, proud. And I’m a little sad that it took someone who met her later in life, rather than someone who’s known her all of her life, to say it out loud. I won’t remember Mom-Mom baking cookies or giving big cushy hugs like the stereotypical grandmother. For heaven’s sake, I very nearly drove off the road the day we were having our regular “DC Celine's on her way home from work” phone call and she signed off by saying, “I love you, honey.” I will, though, remember her doing all of the things she did to show me how much she does love me and which define her so wonderfully. I’ll tell my daughter about all of these things, so she’ll know the Mom-Mom in the picture of the three of us I’m so grateful to have.

I’ll remember:

  • back-to-school shopping every year

  • being proud that my stately grandparents were the ones greeting at the back of church

  • liverwurst sandwiches on the teal ceramic plates on the screened porch

  • that the little chalkboard I made for her when I was in elementary school hung in her home forever

  • getting on the bus with the grownups from church to go to the Philadelphia Orchestra matinee. I remember the last trip we took downtown, her picking me up at high school to go.

  • the dark wooded restaurant where we lunched on my very first bowl of French onion soup after the concert – I felt so grown up

  • the collection of children’s books – Clifford and Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel still being my favorites – in the closet in the den

  • dinner at the country club

  • vegetable beef or beef and barley soup

  • that she came to every swim meet, play, and concert she could – no matter how slow I swam or how horrendous the elementary school band was

  • how much I liked that she kept the bedrooms like they were when my dad was little

  • the cooing of the mourning dove that always seemed to wake me up when I spent the night with them

  • how much I wish I could play golf and bridge like she – they’re just such grownup things
    that she spent a good part of her time bringing meals to others

  • her playing the piano

  • sitting at the buffet restaurant over cups of soup and sandwiches, me asking about her life – her family, mother, father, Pop-Pop – and her just plain telling me all about it in such an honest way that lets me make sense of my family

I’ll remember how much she loves me – completely and totally unconditionally, because I’m hers.


Carrie M said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope you do get to share at her service. I wish I had had the opportunity to say something personal at my grandfather's. It's wonderful to read those lovely memories you have.

Nemesis said...

That was beautifu..if you can't say it maybe you can put it in the memorial program..that's what I did for my PaPa...just a thought