At the end of February, I lost the last of my grandparents. This has led to a period of reflection. I loved all of my grandparents very much and am so thankful for the relationships I had with each. I knew them well enough to both like and dislike things about them. Not everyone is that fortunate.
Lately I've had songs from Itzhak Perlman's, "Greatest Hits," CD in my head. On my commute home I decided to dig out the CD and listen to it. I'm taken back to a time when I had a conversation with one of my grandpas. I was in high school and had the opportunity to attend a master class with Rachel Barton and later a concert. The next time I saw my Grandpa, I told him about it and played some of my favorite songs from CDs I purchased after her concert. My Grandpa, with a twinkle in his eye, said to me, "You think she's good?" I said, "Yes. Of course. She's way better than me." And then my Grandpa introduced me to Itzhak Perlman. Several years later when he passed away, my Mom went through his CDs. Among many CDs of his I received was Itzhak Perlman's, "Greatest Hits."
Going through photos has also helped with my grieving process. One of my favorites is a picture of one of my grandmas and me. I'm sitting on her lap on our family's couch, totally enveloped in her arms, wearing one of her necklaces.
I remember one time I was sick, Dad was out of town, and Mom was out of PTO. At that time we lived a couple hours from my Mom's parents so Grandma drove up to take care of me. She dusted and vacuumed the house from top to bottom. I couldn't believe how much energy she had. Once I started feeling better, she asked what I wanted to eat and said she would make me whatever I wanted. "Whatever I want?" I asked. "Yes." said Grandma. I picked french toast. :)
My other Grandma also like to make french toast. When our family would stay at their house, she would ask my sister and I what we wanted for breakfast. French toast was always my choice. Sometimes my sister wanted waffles or pancakes so we took turns picking breakfast. I remember the first time we asked for cheese on our scrambled eggs. She was hooked thanks to us.
Besides keeping us well fed with our favorite foods, she also played games with us. The first time I played Ants in the Pants and Clue were at her house. And oh my, the card games. Card games were a popular form of entertainment on my Dad's side of the family. I'll never forget the time my Grandpa and I were a team playing against my Dad and my Uncle. I had the best hand of my life and knew I could take all the tricks. At first my Grandpa was annoyed that I forced him to play all of his good cards at the same time as my good cards. Wasted tricks, if you will. He sat across from me, grumbling and giving me looks he hoped I understood. Halfway through the hand he got quiet. Near the end of the round his face was beaming. Once the hand ended, he couldn't stop bragging about me. He thought he had the best partner and never again did he doubt my strategies.
I learned so much from each of my grandparents but most importantly I was dearly loved. They showed interest in my interests, told me how proud of me they were, were keenly aware of all of my favorite things, and spent as much time as possible with my sister and me. I couldn't have asked for better grandparents and am proud of the many ways they have influenced my life. Whether it's attributed to nature or nurture, I don't much care. The fact that in many ways it could be either brings a smile to my soul.