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Granddaddy, my brother Chad, and Grandmama
(he thinks he was her favorite. pshaw!)

Saturday morning we drove to my Granddaddy’s. My Grandmama passed away a couple years ago and although Granddaddy has other people around – my aunt and uncle, some of my cousins – he misses having her. (Obviously. They were married almost 70 years!)

Sitting around the kitchen table, cracking jokes, talking about guns and chickens and various colorful relatives, the time flew by and it was early afternoon when we left. Leaving, we drove by my mom’s mother’s house – Granny – just to see how it had changed in the past decade that she hadn’t lived there.

Granny was so capable. I said to Mark.

There wasn’t anything she couldn’t do – she was a great cook, good at sewing, quilting, growing things… give her a project and she would get it done.

Did your grandparents know each other when they were young? he asked.

Oh, yeah, they used to play dominoes and hang out late into the night. They went on vacations together and celebrated holidays together. Grandmama always told me that Granddaddy Wood (my grandfather on my mom’s side) was the funniest person she ever knew.

What else did Grandmama do? Did she work or sew? It seems like your Granny was always busy with her own business or being crafty or cooking. Was Grandmama good at anything?

What DID Grandmama do well? I thought about this. The thing is, every time I was around Grandmama what she did was me. I was the center of her universe. When my cousins were there, we were all the center. She wasn’t busy cleaning when we were there (although she kept a pretty clean house). She wasn’t cooking (she was a terrible cook – one time, she tried to make me a grilled cheese in the toaster!). She wasn’t sewing or doing crafts… She was busy about the business of being with me.

Their house was always full. Visiting missionaries would come and stay with Grandmama and Granddaddy when they passed through town raising money for their trips. People from out of state would find a warm bed and good company when they passed through. Cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors – they always seemed to find a soft place to land in my Grandmama.

Then it struck me. My Grandmama did something exceptionally. She was amazing at being fully present. There with me or my cousins or one of the many visitors – she would always hear your story and laugh at the appropriate times. She would invite you to her kitchen table, overflowing with coupons and notes and mail, and you would talk to her for hours while she warmed up your coffee from time to time and listened closely to all you said. If you felt like coloring, Grandmama would pull out the coloring books and join you. If you were in the mood to shop, she would companionably accompany you and walk down the store aisles remarking about this or that. And as she grew older and the trips from the house slowed, she would just sit in her chair as people continued to come and go from her home, making them all feel welcome and special when they were there.

When people ask me, of all my cousins and I, who was my Grandmama’s favorite, I have to say it was me – but I think all of us would say that. She was a gift, and offered us an example of being present every day.

We miss you Grandmama! And… I WAS your favorite, right? 

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One thought on “Lessons in Being Present

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