I grew up without the steady presence of a grandmother in my life. My paternal grandmother passed away when I was very young and my maternal grandmother lived in Colorado, which meant that I only saw her once a year at best. It wasn’t until my husband, Adams, introduced me to his grandmother, Nora, that I knew what I was missing…warmth, wisdom, and security, not to mention a whole lot of spoiling.
Nora was fully invested in Adams’ life and when he told her that he was going to marry me, it was understood that I would first need her approval. But I needn’t have worried, because she fully embraced me and immediately nicknamed me her “Sweetie Girl.” We shared something special, which was a love for the same man. Her love for Adams was tried and true and mine was new and shiny, but instead of it being a tug-of-war between us, she wisely used it to pull me closer to her.
After the wedding, it became apparent that I couldn’t cook, and it simply would not do for “Grandmother’s Darling” (aka Adams) to live with burnt toast for the rest of his life. So she made another wise decision and made me her pupil. We took trips to the farmers’ market to pick out the choicest butter beans. We also scheduled a day each summer to drive to Dumas, Arkansas, and pick up a few bags of the sweetest corn your mouth will ever taste. We would come back to her house to shuck the ears and cream the cobs with the family, leaving a sticky mess in the wake.
After three years of infertility had taken its toll on my body, Adams and I made the decision to use a fertility doctor in Mobile, Alabama, for an advanced procedure. Grandmama and Granddaddy drove down and rented a place by the beach to be with us through that time. She would walk the beach and pray with hopeful expectation of the future great-grandchild that I would carry. Her prayers were effective. That Mother’s Day, we presented her with the news that she would indeed become a great grandmother.
Just as she had done in Adams’ life and mine, she became fully invested in the lives of our two daughters, Adelene and Ellanora. She ordered her own baby bed to be put in her home, lest there be any question of if the girls should sleep over or not. She spoiled them with homemade banana pudding every time they walked in the door. Adams even had to ask himself from time to time if he was still the favored “Grandmother’s darling” or if he had been pushed aside due to his daughters.
As time would have it, Grandmama’s legs stopped working properly and it wasn’t long before the Parkinson’s caught up with her and forced her into the nursing home. Yet even there she was the life of the party. It was not unusual to her to have a friend or two in her room along with Granddaddy, ever faithful to be there in his recliner so that he could spend the days with her. One of the last visits we had with her was through a window pane due to COVID restrictions. She was glad to see us all, but her eyes shone the brightest for “Grandmother’s Darling.”
Grandmama, thank you for the love you consistently poured out on me and my family. I pray that if I am ever blessed with a granddaughter-in-law, I will have the same relationship with her that you and I were able to share. Your influence has made me into a better wife and mother and I am grateful for every lesson (and recipe!) you taught me. With every bite of butter beans and sweet corn, I will remember you. Love, Your Sweetie Girl