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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: G is for Grandmother

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

G is for Grandmother

Good morning to all!

Welcome to my bare blog.  As I mentioned last night (but if you're just here for Alphabe-Thursday you wouldn't have seen it), I'm in the process of making changes to it.  In the meantime I got so tired of the dark colors that I totally got rid of them.  It was definitely a cathartic experience!

On to the business at hand.

Today's letter is G and the only G thing I could think about (other than my lovely friend Gretchen!) was my maternal Grandmother, who we refer to as Babci.

I don't know if it was because I was the first born of the youngest child or if it was because my existence prior to my birth caused a lot of...issues, or because she just thought I was special, but she and I were just all about each other.  I adored her, that much I remember.  Even a young child knows who loves them the best.

My very earliest memory is of my brother Jason's first Christmas.  I woke up that morning and heard her voice downstairs and jumped out of bed.  Not because it was Christmas - I don't even know if I understood that it was Christmas (I was only 2).  And I'm sure that I was excited when I did start down the stairs and see everything laid out before me.  But the reason I jumped out of bed in the first place was because she was there.

I try to hold on to as many memories as I can.  I remember that in cold weather she would always make a sign of the cross that my dad's old car would start, and we'd sit huddled together in the back seat blessing ourselves fervently.  I remember her wearing leather gloves on those cold nights.  I would eat bologna and cheese sandwiches in her darkened living room while she watched "Days of Our Lives".  She had long nails and broke one, and for some reason I freaked out when she showed me the broken tip in her hand.  She thought it was hilarious and kept trying to show it to me, which tells me that my mom's sense of humor didn't come from just nowhere.  She would sing out "Whooooo is knocking at my doooooor?" when we'd visit, which was often since we only lived a couple of blocks away. 

I remember that she got sick, and that one day she left the hospital and Jason and I were left with our older cousins to prepare a party for her.  We made a banner and everything.

But then she went back to the hospital.  I don't really know the timeline here because, after all, I was 4 years old.  But I do remember spending a good deal of time in that hospital waiting room.  Family members would take turns staying with me.  My dad would make up all kinds of games to occupy me, like seeing how far I could hop on one foot.  My uncle would fall asleep (good thing I was so well behaved).  One day my dad took my brother and me to the lawn below her room, and she waved down at us.  I remember seeing her, so small and far away.

Then one day I woke up from a nap and watched TV while my next door neighbor sat with me.  I remember the phone ringing.  And I remember her asking me to be very nice and quiet when my parents got home.

After dinner my mom took me into the living room and sat down with me standing in front of her.  And she asked me if I remembered how Babci was sick in the hospital.  I said I did.  And then she told me that she had died.

Later, I overheard my mom telling someone over the phone that she didn't know I'd react as strongly as I did.  I tell you I sobbed, and went running out to the backyard (where my dad was with Jason) and threw my arms around Jason and went on and on through my tears about how we'd never do any of the things we used to do with her anymore.  It was inconceivable to me - I knew she was sick, but of course I never thought she would die.

I promise that I hadn't intended for this post to get as morose as it did just then.

To this day I still tear up when I think about that, right now being no exception.  I wish she'd been here to talk to, to meet Stephanie and Stephen (it is too bizarre to me that they never even knew her), and to be on my side when I needed someone to be.  I wish I knew what she would think of me had she seen me grow up.  A few years back Jason and I were looking through old pictures and I pointed out that, as always, Babci and I were joined at the hip.  And I teased him that she loved me more*.  And he said, "She wouldn't love you as much if she knew you now!".  Of course he was kidding.  And I'm pretty sure I was at least 25 at the time.  Nevertheless I instantly burst into tears.  I guess it was because I've harbored the same fear at times when I'm not too proud of myself.

Before she died, Babci did two things in relation to me.  According to my mom one of the last things she said to her was, "Be good to Jennifer.  She's a good girl".  Second, she told my mom to give me her Miraculous Medal, which she had worn constantly.  I wore it a month later on my 5th birthday and then not again until I turned 13.  Years later Mom and I pinned it to the inside of my wedding gown, right over my heart.

And at the reception, my mom got up and made a little speech.  At the end she said, "Babci is smiling on you today, and she was right - you ARE a good girl".

*Another memory I have is of Babci trying to change Jason's diaper.  I held his hands down while she attempted this.  And he kicked her square in the forehead.  He was a...difficult child.  I mean, I had to hold him down for her, does this tell you anything? To this day when we're arguing/joking I hold that incident up as the reason she loved me more than him - at least I never kicked her in the head!

Jenny Matlock



Blogger laterg8r said...

so glad you have such fond memories of her :D

March 4, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Blogger Riet said...

What a beautiful G post. I wished I had such a gran.

March 4, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Blogger GardenofDaisies said...

Grandparents are such an important part of a child's life. I was so sad when my grandparents died too.

March 4, 2010 at 2:40 PM

Blogger lissa said...

thank you for sharing such wonderful memories of your grandmother, she sounded like a fun and sweet lady

thanks for your visit to my alphabe-thursday

March 4, 2010 at 7:03 PM

Blogger Short and Sweet said...

Wow, your memories of your wonderful grandmother are so vivid. I really enjoyed reading your story. Thank you.

March 4, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Blogger Amanda said...

your grandmother must have been lovely, and I'm sure she is really proud of who you have become!

March 4, 2010 at 8:51 PM

Blogger Jenny said...

G olly G ee.

I am in tears over your post.

This is lovely. Just lovely.

Jen, how blessed you both were to have found such a perfect love.

I'm so glad you had that. And so glad she did, too.


And a little hug.

March 4, 2010 at 9:48 PM

Blogger Sarah said...

Beautiful tribute to your sweet Babci. It's so wonderful to share that kind of relationship with someone special. I know you miss her.

March 4, 2010 at 10:30 PM

Blogger Steph said...

What precious memories from such an early time. Love really does imprint on our lives. Please pass the tissues.

March 5, 2010 at 4:50 AM

Blogger Amy said...

I love memories of my grandparents! I miss them tremendously!

March 5, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Blogger Viki said...

What sweet stories about your grandmother. She must have been very special if you still remember these things and you were so young.

March 5, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Anonymous Stephanie said...

Jen, I just bawled my eyes out. This is ridiculous.

March 5, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Blogger MrsJenB said...

Thank you all for the kind thoughts and comments.

And Stephie - I'm sorry, honey!

March 5, 2010 at 10:11 PM

Blogger The Muse said...

So happy to find you in the G meme

How kind and love filled your post sweet and memorable!
yes, I am happy to have found my way here!

March 6, 2010 at 2:17 AM

Blogger Jo said...

what love filled memories ... it is so amazing to know love ... especially love of a grandparent.

March 7, 2010 at 12:21 AM

Blogger Melinda Cornish said...

I had a grandma that I loved like this...Arent they the best in the world...What a great story and a great G' post...So glad you shared it....Melinda

March 9, 2010 at 11:20 PM


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