Monday, June 28, 2010

Mentoring Monday: The people you might not (or won’t) get to meet.

If you havn't noticed.. Aymee has totally stepped up and taken over the Mentoring Monday posts... and i gotta say im loving these little letters to Maddie... hope your enjoying it too!
The people you might not (or won’t) get to meet.
Dear Madeline,
There are so many important people who you will meet in your lifetime. The first being your dad and I. Then you’ll meet and grow up knowing your grandparents, aunts and uncles (and pseudo-aunts & uncles). You will take them for granted because you will have always known them. But there are some people you might never get to meet in person or get to know. Someday, when you’re old enough, we will have the conversation about death so you will understand this better. But there are/were people in our lives who are very important to your dad and me; people who were a constant in our lives and whom we sadly took for granted as kids.
My grandmother, your great grandmother, is one of those people. She is my mother’s mother, and currently lives in sunny Florida with my aunt.
She was born January 3, 1925, which means she lived through all the amazing historical times you will learn about in history class: the Great Depression, WWII, the legendary 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. As I’m writing this, she is 85 years old. Betty, as she is frequently called, always has a smile on her face, and gives the strongest bear hugs of any five-foot woman I’ve ever met. She would also always accompany her hugs with an eager kiss to your cheek, leaving a bright pink lipstick mark. When I was a kid, as we’d drive away after visiting her at her house in St. Louis, she would stand on the front porch and wave until she couldn’t see the car anymore: every time, without fail. These things I took for granted as a kid. But I now know the bear hugs, the kisses, the lingering wave--those were all expressions of the deep vastness of her love. She now has Alzheimer’s disease, which makes it hard for people to remember things. The farther back the memory, the easier she can remember it. But she’s starting to forget some of her later memories. Unfortunately, one of the memories she will have trouble remembering as time goes on will be that she has a beautiful great granddaughter whom she undoubtedly loves very much. Currently, we talk often enough that she not only remembers I’m pregnant, but calls to ask how you are. She is very excited to meet you, and I hope your dad and I can make that happen. It will prove difficult, because we live on opposite ends of the country, but one lesson I want to teach you throughout life is never say never. No one knows what the future holds: anything can happen.
Another person I took for granted as a kid because he was always around and available is my grandfather (my father’s father), your great grandpa. This is a rare case where you can use the word never. I regret you won’t be able to get to know your Great Grandpa Jones personally because he died a few years before you were born. But he would love if I show you pictures and tell you stories about him—so I will.
He was a simple, quiet, happy man, who always wanted to spread smiles to everyone in the room. He loved having the extended family over for holidays; the house buzzing with kids while the parents sat around the kitchen table, in the living room, or on the breezy back porch and chatted about life, and played card games. I will eternally remember him lounging back in a chair wherever he sat, enjoying a cigar, trying to make us laugh. “On the shores of Gitche Gumee, by the shining Big-Sea-Water…” he would recite epically. As a kid, I had no idea what it meant (it is “The Song of Hiawatha,” a famous 19th century poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_Hiawatha) but he loved to recite it. It wasn’t until recently that I began to understand him. He was always a distant family figure, and I regret that now. We were two generations who loved each other, but didn’t know how to relate to one another. You will have people like this in your life too. They will generally be older; your dad and I, your grandparents, your teachers, etc. You might have trouble understanding them because you have not yet seen what they have seen: life experiences you are years away from that make them who they are. I promise you: this will become easier to understand as you get older. In the meantime, it is our job to relate to you, because we have been through what you’re going through. It is our job to make sense of this crazy thing called life, and lead you through it safely.
              Everyone involved in your life is looking forward to developing these kinds of memorable relationships with you. Much like how our grandparents loved us so deeply, and how we often didn’t understand just how much, your grandparents will love you the same. They simply cannot wait to see you, hold you, and watch you grow. Each of them is a different person who will show their love in different ways. Their limitless love will make a lasting impression on you, and you might not understand it until you have children of your own.
Love,
Mom

Another edit from me: Aymee... Maddie - ugh... this post killed me in all the greatest ways possible... eyes welled up with tears through the whole thing... As you know, I feel the same way about my grandpa - and my memories of him are so clear... i can still smell him. A mix of tobacco, zippo, and oil... mmm such a wonderful scent. Too bad they dont sell it as cologne. It literally breaks my heart that I will never see him squeeze on the boys... he would have been so proud of me... 2 boys in his sea of 5 girls. Such a mans man... ugh... i wish. i wish. i wish... I love you mimi and maddie, your not even here and I already love you... and miss you so so much... im homesick for the fact I havn't gotten to rub your mamas belly... and kick my hand and watch you wiggle about... and i miss you because i know i will not get to see you NEAR as much as I want to... think of me as the ultimate "god" mother... I will shower you with gifts, so youll know im always thinking of you even though im not there... and ill make your mommy ALWAYS show you pictures of me and the boys so you don't forget us... and maybe even tell a few embarrassing stories so your mama can giggle... i love you both dearly... mama - give maddie a little squeeze for me... or a wiggle? Or a hand kiss? I dunno whatever you can do to let her know im thinking of her ;) Love you. Amber

3 comments:

  1. Reading Amyee's posts always makes me wish I knew her like you did. She seems so sweet and she will definitely be a great mother :]

    This post made me sad, but happy. Everyone has these stories, so I won't go into mine, but it's sad thinking about who your little one won't get to meet in their lives. Good thing is... we are there to let them "meet." We get to tell them stories about how great they were and how they affected our lives. It's a great thing :]

    Amber- your ps is so sweet. I wish I could send you over to Amyee so you could give her belly a rub. :] breaks my heart!

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  2. This is the sweetest post, and also made me sad to think of my Grandad who past two years ago.. he was hilarious, he would visit and bring huge bags of chocolates and sweets of all kinds (waaay more than any kid should healthily be given access to) he would come in and we'd hear rustling as he'd shove these huge packages down inside the sofa for us to find and dig out after he'd left (and would be out of reach of my mothers wrath!)

    He lived pretty far away, so whenever he wasn't able to travel for birthdays or christmas, he'd always send a HUGE box for us.. again dreaded by my mother as these boxes never contained toys, books, or clothing.. but always SUGAR! Like the entire chocolate aisle from the supermarket, we'd be guarenteed to have at least one packet of everything!

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  3. Once again, what a wonderful post. I just don't have words, but this was a wonderful, wonderful post.

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