December 09, 2012

My Grandma, My Parent, My Hero, My Home

Lisa, Grandma & Me
My cute sister and I

My Grandparents raised 4 out of the five children in my family. Not because they thought that raising teenagers while over the age of 60 would be super fun, but because they loved us and when our parents were unable or unwilling to do right by their children, my grandparents stepped in.  

My sister Lisa and I were the first to go, followed by another sister and then a brother.  All at around the same age. 

When I was just 15 and my sister was 13, we came home from school one day and out of the blue our mother handed us plane tickets.  By dinner time she and I were on a plane to go live with our father's parents in Utah. It was scary and because I was the oldest, I felt it was my job to look after my scared, heartbroken and very confused little sister. My mother had decided teenagers were not worth her time and effort.  Being sent far away from our home in Kansas was a sort of punishment for questioning things like curfew, how she treated us and the number of chores we did.  In my childhood home, if you saw something being done by your mother,  that was obviously not right or good - and if you dared to speak up and stand up for yourself or your siblings - you were quickly dismissed.  At 15, I'm surprised I lasted as long as I did.  Thank heavens my mother sent my sister and I together.  What was meant to be something hurtful and mean - became, instead something that forever sealed a bond between Lisa and I that was indestructible. I thought I was being so grown up and strong.  I now know that what arrived at the Salt Lake City airport, and stood in front of my grandparents - was two shabby, scared young girls.  One smaller girl, who looked devastated and in tears and a slightly older girl trying to act grown up and brave.  
My grandparents and I

Oh, how I will forever be in my grandparents debt.  Having teenagers myself, I know it is not easy. But they were great.  In hindsight, I realize they didn't just provide for us, love us and teach us many things - they also saved us. Saved us from a life I can only imagine would be full of heartache and the kind of painful experiences no one should endure at the hands of someone they love and respect.  My grandparents gave us a life full of love...unconditional love.  And that was new for us.  I am not sure they realize just how much we love and respect them. There aren't enough words.  How do you thank someone who has saved your life?

This week they moved out of the only home I have ever known, and into a very nice retirement home where they will not have to worry about cooking or maintaining a house at the ripe old age of 97 & 93.

It is scary to know they could pass away soon and although my sisters and my brother have mentally tried to prepare for that moment... I know it will be harder than I can imagine. We never had the traditional family experience, but what we ended up with was good.  I learned so much from the example of those two wonderful people who took two scraggly girls into their home and showed them a better life. For the first time ever, we knew we had a real home.  And it was amazing. Even then, we knew we had been blessed.

When my grandparents are gone, the only family I will have left is 2 sisters , one who lives near and one who lives in New York, and a brother who is in Texas with his sweet family.  It's a strange feeling, but over the years I have learned that it isn't a house or even the family you are born into that becomes your "home".  I feel at home anywhere my husband & children are with me.  I feel at home - feel safe and loved - with my friends.  They are the family I have created for myself.

It will be strange to drive by my grandparents house and know they are no longer there.  I think I will feel a bit lost.  
I LOVE her laughing with me!

Today my sister and I were able to visit our grandparents in their new place.   My grandmother's memory is not quite what it used to be. Although my grandfather told her over and over again that this was their home now, grandma kept telling me that they were only there visiting friends. After a while, we just went with it.  She forgets just about everyone and everything but has always known who my sister Lisa and I were, and that makes me feel at home with her, no matter what her address is.  If you have a grandparent you love, tell them.  If you are lucky enough to have a mother and a place you call 'home', be thankful.  If you have parents who always have your back, who you can trust and who you know will always love you - love them right back and know how lucky you are.  If you are like me, and you have one of those non-traditional families....take a moment to look around at the family you have created.  Look and see where it is you feel at home.  Focus on the friends you have been blessed to have in your life, the people who love you.  
Kay, June, Lisa and Grandpa

And last of all, if you have a sister or a brother who has always been there, through the good the bad and the ugly, who has seen you at your worst and loved you anyway, who tells you when you're wrong or when your pants really do make your butt look big, but will take on anyone else who would ever say such a thing!  If you have a sibling like that, when you say your prayers tonight - make sure you thank your Heavenly Father for what is one of the greatest blessings a girl can have.  A sister who is also a best friend.

Thank Him for all you have been given that helped balance out the craziness.  Thank Him for living through hard times and coming out the other side having learned a thing or two. Thank him for good examples and those who step up to the plate and take on the role of parent when needed.  Thank Him for everything.  Because when you do, it is with Him, that you find your true HOME.  

1 comment:

  1. You are so lucky to have siblings like that, that you were able to stick together despite all that happened in your lives. I am very envious of that, but grateful for great friends that can be my sisters, like you !!