Friday, January 18, 2008


She had eight children, six boys and two girls.

She had 28 grandchildren.

She had 25 great-grandchildren.

I gave her number 26 just a month before she died. I was the last one to make her a great grandmother while she was alive.

I didn't realize that until right now, when I added things up.

It's interesting to take a minute and add things up.

She was not an effusive or demonstrative woman, but there was never any question of her love. My grandfather was both effusive and demonstrative, and his love came through with all the force and drama his Sunday sermons at the Baptist pulpit did. While he was alive she was his silent partner. When he died and left her a widow after nearly 60 years of marriage, she went on to live 20 more. Then we got to meet her, to know her, to sparkle in her gentle love.

Living on a preacher's paltry salary and with all those children, grand children and great grands, she simply could not give gifts to each of us. I don't remember ever feeling jealous of the kids I knew that did receive birthday and Christmas gifts from their grandparents. My grandmother sent me a card every year for my birthday. Every year. And to every single one of her family members and loved ones. Without fail. We all looked forward to this yearly event as though we were being honored with a reward.

And indeed, we were. We were being honored to be her family.

One year, somehow, some way, she was nominated for Mother-of-the-Year. Yes. That's a real thing. And she was so proud, pride, you know, one of the big seven deadly sins. But she was, you could tell.

As part of that process she received a necklace with a mother-of-the-year pendent. She adored that necklace. She wore it for all special occasions.

I have that necklace now. I also have her wedding dress (circa 1920's), and her cedar "hope" chest.

Three of the most special things in the world to her are mine. Of all the kids, grand kids and great grands (and now many great-greats) it is I that have them.

On the 364 days a year that I am feeling decidedly NOT mother-of-the-year, I remember that I have that necklace. I am no way a contender, but I'm already a winner.


riversgrace said...

Wonderful piece! What was her name? No surprise at all that it is you who received these heirlooms. Perfect.

Jerri said...

Good mothering is in your DNA, Carrie. Of course you have the necklace. Who better?

Seeker said...

Your grandmother was clearly a very wealthy women, whatever the number on her bank account might have read. And you and the rest of the family shared in her rare wealth. Thanks for sharing!

Any chance for a photo of those treasures? The gown and the necklace? They would make a great addition to your story, and a treat for all of us to see.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

Your grandmother must have been amazing -- I can feel her in your writing. BEAUTIFUL!
Yes, you are a winner and, I suspect a contender.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Beautiful post Carrie. Her blood runs through your veins.

Anonymous said...

Your Grandmother sounds like a beautiful person, just like you. I am glad that you have her very special items. A hope chest, a special necklace and a wedding gown...could not be more symbolic of who you have become.

marge said...

A contender you are my dear. Beautiful piece.

riversgrace said...

Did you add the photo? So great! Thank you for bringing her to life.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the beautiful picture Carrie. It made this post, that was already so special, that much more precious. She looks like a very strong and loving woman. Love it.

MY OWN WOMAN... said...

Great post Carrie. Thank you for reminding me what my grandmother gave to all of her many grandchildren for Christmas. She didn't have hardly any money but each year she gave each of us a silver dollar for Christmas wrapped with ribbons and bows. It's a great memory.

kario said...

Hello!? Have you not been paying attention? You are most certainly the mother of the year. Who else goes to Safeway the way you do? Who else holds up Elmo and roots during Rojo's football games? Who spent years upon years of her life making sure her kids were well taken care of? YOU!

Now, take a bow, please.


Nancy said...

I'm with Kario, WEAR THE NCKLACE!

Jess said...

What a great story.

You look so much like them, especially him!! Wow. Wonderful picture.

How old was she when she died? I'm trying to do the math on her living 20 years after 60 years of marriage...

Of course you are a contender. Duh!