Wednesday, May 21, 2008

G.G.

Today is my husband's Grandma's birthday.

She is a terrific lady. Both Middle Girl and The Boy's middle names are in honor of her, because I admire her so much. (I am proud to have given her her first great-grandchildren. She and her friends decided that she should be called G.G., for "great grandma.")

She's tough. She has very strong opinions, and her opinions are the right opinions; anyone who doesn't agree is foolish. Hubby's family members all tell us with wide, serious eyes: "don't argue with Grandma."

But here's the thing- they think she's so scary, but she is one of the most loving
Grandmas I have ever seen.

Maybe if I had met my maternal Grandma, I would have a different perspective, but she passed away when my mom was seventeen. My Granddad remarried, and she's very nice, but she is quiet and reserved. It's hard to be close to her. My paternal Grandmother ("Do NOT call me Grandma") was a very harsh woman. She was very cruel to my mom and made it clear that she was not good enough for my dad. She exercises a mean, manipulative guilt trip over my dad to this day, and she passed away three-and-a-half years ago. She did love me and we got along well, but once I was old enough to see how she was toward my mom, I couldn't feel the same way about her anymore. When she needed full-time care, she was so mean to her caregivers that they kept quitting, but she refused to live with my parents so my dad had to keep finding new caregivers in the tiny rural town where she lived.

Grandmother is a big psychological ISSUE for my whole family and my dad's brother's whole family, so I will stop there.

When I met The Hubby's Grandma, I met a real Grandma. I felt like she adopted me into her heart early on. I could see right away that she loved people, and they knew it. Yes, she speaks her mind (which I admire), but no one worries that if they disagree, she won't love them anymore. She demonstrates both: 1) high standards for her loved ones' ideas and actions, and 2) unconditional love.

She has opened her heart to my sisters-in-law as well. Fundamentally, she enjoys people and believes in living a happy life!

She is now unable to take care of herself and has a live-in caregiver, whom she adores. She loves to visit with both adults and children, but she asks the same question over and over in her conversations. She doesn't remember The Boy anymore, and asks every other minute "whose boy is this?" We love to see her, and be in her warm and loving presence, but it is also very difficult and painful to witness. I miss the parts of her that we have lost; we all do.

On this day, I just want to celebrate her, a remarkable woman whom I am so fortunate to have in my life. Happy Birthday, Grandma. We love you so much.
Edited to add: this picture.

4 comments:

JCK said...

One of the lovely things about marriage is that you inherit the relatives who change your life. This special lady sounds like that.

blackbird said...

Happy day to her - you are lucky to have her in your life...

jenontheedge said...

Happy birthday to G.G.!

In our family, the girls call their great-grandmother "Greatma."

barbra said...

Greatma! I love it!