The interesting thing about being a grandmother, is that you can kind of decide for yourself what kind of grandma you want to be. While this is frowned upon for mothers, it is socially acceptable to be an overly-indulgent grandmother that administers no discipline. A neglectful parent can face legal consequences, but a neglectful grandmother is just “pursuing her own interests.” It seems pretty free-form. So I look to my own grandmas for the example.
My Grandma Goodwin was born in 1896, and passed away at the age of 100. She was petite, delicate in appearance and sensibilities, ladylike and eternally useful. She sewed the most beautiful clothing. Thanks to her, I never wore a pair of pants until I was in grade school, and many autumns we would go to the fabric store, select dozens of patterns and fabrics, and Grandma would tailor an entire wardrobe of beautiful outfits for the new school year. She was very culturally refined, and as a grandmother and a person, was somewhat on the reserved side, while still making certain that we knew she loved us. As a young woman, she was a Gibson Girl, brought up her two children in Death Valley, as the wife of the first Park Superintendent of Death Valley National Park. And you thought it was hot and dusty where you live! She lived in her own apartment next door to her sister until she was well into her nineties, and as such was one of the most independent women I have ever met.
My Grandma Hamblin was born in Colonia Dublán, Mexico. As a small child, she had an infection in a bone in her leg. In order to correct the problem, four inches had to be surgically removed from the bone, leaving her with a pronounced limp, and because medical treatments of the time did not include compensating for the shorter leg, many other health problems resulted. Her later life was marked by severe arthritis, bone spurs and constant pain. But she was one of the most positive, cheerful people I have known. If I had to pick one word to describe her personality, it would be mischievous. You know how someone is said to have a “twinkle in her eye?” Grandma Hamblin actually did. She was an amazing home cook (my favorites were home-canned plums, apple pie and pasties…the meat pie kind, not the naughty underwear kind). She made beautiful quilts (until her hands could no longer cooperate) and she loved singing and reading the scriptures. My most vivid memory of her is how much she and my grandpa adored each other, and how much she loved me.
I have a lot to live up to.