growing up with grandparents
A few months after my parents eloped, they decided to move off to Louisiana. Eight months later, I was born. Though they loved the new found freedom of moving away from it all, they had a longing to raise their family back in Oklahoma so they would be closer to their families. Back to Oklahoma they went. Growing up I was fortunate enough to have three grandparents: my Dad's mom, Memaw, and my Mom's parents, Grandpa & Grandma. They were all very different, but shared the common bond of loving me. I soon realized how completely convenient and awesome (though at times, trying on my little people pleasing heart) it was to have all of my grandparents only live a street apart! Spring and summertime meant many trips out to my Memaw's so my Dad could tend to her lawn. Sometimes I would split my time if they were home and ride my bike over to my grandparents house or cross the creek that separated the two. It was such a simple time. At times I still long to be little again and have those moments all over.
Aside from having some 'family conflicts,' that made for split holidays between the two families, they were both equally ever present in my life. Every Thursday my mom & I (later when Holly came along, the 3 of us) would load up and have dinner at my grandparent's house while my Dad worked evenings. Many sleepovers, travels, & memories with both were made. I even had the joy of knowing some of my Memaw's and Grandma's siblings too. Great Aunts and Great Uncles were also a constant while growing up. Meals, laughs, & special moments are all things I hold so dear. I also recall my first memories of great loss were with the passing of my Grandma's sisters. First Aunt Bonnie and then Aunt Edna. I didn't really understand, but I felt the ache of someone present in your life, no longer being around. Although if I was being completely honest, I still feel like that today at almost 30...
Part of the bittersweetness of having Grandparents while growing up, is that they won't be there as you are growing older. I lost my Memaw at 17 and my Grandpa & Grandma last year at 28. There is a void I cannot explain and a longing that cannot be filled. I cling tightly to all of my memories and thank my parents for making the decision to move back all those years ago. Though my upbringing wasn't perfect, it was perfect for me, & one I would not trade with anyone.
After my Grandpa passed away I knew it would be extremely difficult on my Grandma. When I went to visit her I had one of the most beautiful moments of my life. While we sat there holding hands in the stillness of her room, words overcame my soul and I thought to myself, I must physically capture this... And I am so glad I did. Not only this picture, but these words are one of my most prized treasures.
July 8th, 2014
"These hands hold much more than mine. These hands at one time worked hard, prepared meals, sewed clothing & quilts, fished, went bowling, played pitch, and traveled. They were strong, independent, but loved my Grandpa. They hold history, stories, and a little bit of mystery that the world may never know. I wish these hands weren't tired and I wish more than anything these hands wouldn't give up."