A good grandma

My sister’s daughters were born three years apart, on April 1 and April 4. Mom liked being a grandma, and I think she was good at it. She visited the girls regularly – they lived in suburban New York City for most of their youth before my sister’s family moved to California. Because it is their birthday week, and they are now adults, I looked through some old photos of Mom and her grandchildren to post on the blog.

I visited Mom today, too. I wanted to check on her after a nurse called yesterday to tell me about two new bruises – one on her butt cheek and one on her calf. We both assumed she plopped somewhere too hard, or bumped into a couch or chair. Today, she was lying on a couch, with Mr. R nearby in a chair. Another female resident was hovering around, sometimes saying things. Mom uttered some nonsense words, and this woman said, “Don’t call me a bitch.” I may have interrupted some encounter they were all having before I got there. I was bending over Mom and rubbing her arm, and she said, “Get away. Get away!” So I wandered away for a little while, and then came back with a chair so I was at her level and not standing over her. I rubbed her neck and arm, and then just sat next to her for a short while. She didn’t say much. I wondered if she was annoyed about something, and I suppose she could have been in pain from her two big bruises. I told her it was Julia and Lily’s birthday week and that I had been thinking a lot about them and how much fun she had being a grandma. And she looked at me and said, “That’s very interesting.” Maybe those names meant something to her today.

This is my favorite of the photos I found today. I think Mom looks very pretty. And the girls are super cute as always. I'm not sure how old they were.

Mom with the girls at their home, before dinner at the kitchen table. They look like three pals, don't they?

Mom would swim with the girls in pools and in the ocean, even trying to play in the waves. I don't know where this pool was - could have been a club near home or at a vacation spot. I think Mom's face shows a glimpse of her youth here.

Mom was also Grandma to Cookie, our first dog, and then to Bino and Spencer, our current dogs. This photo must be at least 10 years old. Cookie died 8 1/2 years ago, at age 4, of lymphoma. I remembered that Cookie's birthday was also this week - today, in fact, April 3, 1999. I hope Julia and Lily don't mind that I included Cookie here... Mom loved her, too, but not as much as she loved them.

7 comments so far

  1. jennifer jayhawk on

    Hi Emily,

    Love the photo’s and that your Mom enjoyed being a grandmother. That is pretty cool and I hope to be someday be one myself (be it two legged or four legged).

    My Mom was not much of a grandmother. She had the opinion that she had raised her four children and was not interested in “babysitting”. My two brothers that have grandkids are the exact opposite.

    Thank you for your very kind messages. It has been a rough couple weeks.

    Take care,
    Jennifer

  2. Laura on

    Great memories! Julia and Lily always loved it when Grandma came to visit. I’m so grateful they were able to enjoy such a loving and playful Grandma while they were growing up. She was also an attentive and intelligent listener to all my motherhood woes. I still miss that!

  3. momsbrain on

    Jennifer – That’s interesting about your mom’s take on being a grandmother. My mom struggled sometimes with parenthood, but she took nicely to being a grandma. I’m sure it helped her to have only limited responsibility. Not being geographically close, she didn’t babysit much, so that might have helped, too. I hope things are smoothing out. I know it is very rough to make this move.

    Laura – She was pretty playful, wasn’t she? I do think she got lots of joy out of the time spent with them. I’m sure it was nice for you to have that new kind of relationship with her re: talking about motherhood. I hope I didn’t make the girls sad with these pictures… I was partly inspired by Julia’s use of pictures from her youth on her Facebook page.

  4. Gemma McLuckie on

    Has it been so long since Cookie died? I remember how it hurt you to lose her. I love the pictures. Looking at them reminds me of times with my own family. Thank goodness many women who struggle as moms find joy as grandmas.

  5. momsbrain on

    Hi, Gemma – Yes, Cookie died in early December 2003. We got Bino right away, and Spencer about three months later. And they are both almost 9 now. It was fun to see Mom with the kids. She was a good sport with them.

  6. Jeff on

    I’m sure that Julia and Lily don’t mind that you included that picture of Cookie. They had Louis for so much of their childhood that they must understand the companionship of a pet. I do remember how attentive Mom tried to be with Cookie, often walking the few blocks to feed and play with her.

  7. momsbrain on

    Yes, Mom was very good about helping us with Cookie and then Spencer and Bino, letting them out for a little play time each day.


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