I didn't post much this week because I was just feeling really melancholy. I don't know if it was because of the big snow that hit on Wednesday. Or maybe it was work...caring for your own babies when they are sick is one thing. Going to work and caring for someone else's sick babies is even harder. The girls love me and know me and trust me, so I guess I felt the drain of their first colds, too. I'm sure it was good for their mama to get a break from wiping noses and whining girls. She was getting sick, too, so she even just took a nap one day while I rocked a sick baby.
I don't know if those are really the reasons I felt so melancholy this week or not, though. It's strange. I left my home town for college over 18 years ago. I was home in the summers then after 2 years transferred to a college in CA, met my husband and have been away pretty much for 15 years now. I wouldn't want to move back there at all, but this week I just felt "homesick".
Maybe it's the fact that one of my grandmother's just had surgery a few weeks ago. She is fine now, but she is in her 80's. Her time left here on earth is not unlimited. I have such fun memories of her house and my cousins and always tons of food.
Then I talked to my mom this week a lot about her mother, my other grandmother. She is creeping up on her 85th birthday. She has alzheimer's and is just not doing well these days. She used to have the cantankerous aspect of the disease. It was almost funny that my grandma cussed like a sailor and was in trouble for hitting at her nursing home. Now she has taken on the other side of the disease. She's sweet again, but doesn't remember much about the past 5 years or other aspects of her life, either.
I have such great memories of that grandma. I spent a lot of time at her house as a kid. It seemed like I was with her every weekend for a good chunk of my life. She was one of the hardest working women I ever knew. Of course I was only around after she was semi-retired and all but one of her kids was out of the house. But it seems her apartment was always immaculate. There were never piles of laundry laying around. And never a dust bunny!
She always had time for her friends. I remember going for walks to see her friends in the other apartments. She just liked to check in with them every few days.
She always had a hard time getting me up for church on Sunday mornings. I would be asleep on the sleeper sofa in the living room and she would threaten me with a cold wet washcloth nearly every week. Then we had to pick everything up and get the apartment looking all nice and tidy before we could leave for church. Why? Because you never know if you will be inviting someone home for lunch with you.
My grandma was not much of a cook. We ate a lot of boiled potatoes at her house. That seemed to be her starch of choice...not mashed, not scalloped, not au gratin, just boiled. You can mash them yourself on your plate that way and add butter and salt, too! I do remember making a lot of strawberry jello at her house. There were often bananas in it.
The best thing about weekends at grandma's house was the chocolate cake. She had a metal 9x13 pan with a slide on lid. She always made a chocolate cake in that pan on Saturday afternoons. The cake was from a mix, the frosting was from a can, but she would grease (with crisco) and flour the pan so it seemed to be the greatest chocolate cake I had ever eaten. And we had to save it for Sunday dinner. No bites on Saturday night! The other thing grandma always had was white bread and Skippy creamy peanut butter. YUMMY! That was my favorite thing to eat there, and it didn't matter what time of day it was, I always had to have some of that at grandma's.
She called cereal "breakfast food" and I always thought that was just weird!
I keep using the past tense...and I don't mean anything by that other than this is my childhood I am talking about. This is what I remember about her while I was growing up. I haven't lived in that place for more than 15 years. So that season of my life is very much in the past no matter what condition my grandmother is in. It makes me sad to think that all of this change has happened while I have been in California and Colorado living my life and raising my own children. But I guess some of that is natural, right? It's natural that the granddaughter would now be a woman raising her own children. I think I am just sad that I have done it at such a distance from my grandmothers.
One of the things I always wanted grandma to do was show me all her scars. Her belly looked like a treasure map with all those scars from all her surgeries. Pretty creepy and intriguing to a little girl!