**This is G in the A-Z series**
I could have also titled this post, "G is for grateful", but I like using the names of my beloved, adored, and most wonderful grandmothers. A lot of people don't get to know their grandparents growing up because the grandparents either pass away or stay uninvolved. It wasn't like that for me. My grandmothers were second mothers to me and I was very close to both of them. And I'm incredibly grateful to have had them and still have one of them as a huge part of my life.
Gommy was my paternal grandmother, which is the fancy way to say she was my dad's mom. She was fit, neat, clean, beautiful, christ-like, and had a back bone which consisted entirely of iron. I remember that she would not put up with the hysterics I was prone to as a young child. As soon as my face turned red, tears began flowing, and my feet began stomping, she would go into iron grandma mode. She would say, "Ashley, do you need to go to the crying room?", with this look on her face that told me she was like one step from whipping me with the measuring stick. And I knew she was serious, as serious as a heart attack as a matter of fact. And the crying room was awful. It was her front room, which was closed off with a set of double doors from the rest of the house. Big trees grew in front of the windows, blocking almost all natural light from the room. And the furniture was all fancy and not meant to be comfortable...or enjoyed. So when she asked me if I needed the crying room, I would suck in my lip, hold my breath, shake my head no, and stalk off like a wounded animal. But not too much like a wounded animal because if she noticed, she thought it was disrespectful, and she'd put me in the crying room anyway. But she loved me, oh how she loved me. When I was in college, she wrote at least one letter every single month. When I was far away from my family and lonely, those letters meant the world to me. And even when I was on the cusp of becoming an adult (and beyond), she still sent one dollar in my Valentine every single year.
I saved all of those letters and all of those Valentines with their dollars. I have them stored lovingly in a box. I take them out every so often just to read over them and finger all of those dollar bills. I won't spend them, I never would. Now that she is gone, it's the one tangible connection I still have with her. Those, and the many words she put to paper to cheer me, lift me, and let me know I was loved, prayed for, and thought of often. Gommy passed away years ago. She had knee replacement surgery and then inexplicably died just a few days later. It's a mystery as to why, but I know that she watches over me from Heaven. And every so often, I can almost hear her whispering that I'm going to have to go to the "crying room" if I can't act like the adult I am and stop with the tantrums already :).
Gommy wasn't the only grandmother who loved me, I also had my Granny. Granny was my maternal grandmother, or my mom's mom. I spent more time with Granny growing up because my mom is super attached to her family and so we were always visiting them. I used to call Granny "my Branny" because I couldn't say my 'G's very well. Oh she spoiled me. I had her number just like my kids have my parents' number. I knew just how to get her to buy me a new pair of shoes just about every time we went shopping. And not coincidentally, I still have the same passion for shoes that I had as a small girl. My granny is still with us. Her husband, my grandpa, passed away 2 years ago and while she still mourns him, her Alzheimers has removed much of the sting of his passing. She has become quite the flirt (actually, I think she was quite a flirt as a young girl) and has a boyfriend at the home she lives in. It doesn't seem to matter to her that he is married and his wife visits often :). She has reverted to a childlike state and loves desserts, visits, and getting makeovers. Granny was my second mother growing up, and I spent many of my parents vacations at her house. I never minded being left behind, I had Granny taking care of me.
I consider myself incredibly lucky to have known, loved, and been raised by both sets of grandparents. All four of them were a huge part of my life and left an indelible impression on me along with the many, many years of wisdom they had accumulated. I learned lessons from each of my grandmothers that will follow me through life. And I like to think that I was lucky enough to have inherited some of their characteristics. What a blessing to have spent so many years of my life not only being molded and guided by two loving parents but also by all four of my grandparents.