Monday, February 9, 2009

Powdered Sugar Donuts


My grandma let me eat powdered sugar donuts, and she didn’t even flinch when the white powder misted over the green vinyl tablecloth and chunks of cake tumbled to the floor.

At her kitchen table, I tasted my first bowl of Froot Loops. My mom bought only Rice Krispies and Cheerios. Being allowed to eat brightly colored, sugar laden cereal was, in my five-year-old brain, a sure sign of my grandma’s affection for me. And when she pulled the package of Oreos out of the cupboard, I was certain that I was adored.

Grandma bought me ruffled dresses for my birthday, read “The Pokey Little Puppy” Golden Book at least a thousand times, and rocked me to sleep while singing “Bimbo.” I cannot recall a time when Grandma lost her patience with me, not even when she rocked me through the night when I was feverish and miserably suffering through the chicken pox.

She sang when she washed the dishes and told me stories of learning three-part harmony while standing at the kitchen sink with her sisters. When the dishes were done, she let me plunk at the piano keys and then laughed when I spun myself dizzy on the piano stool. Then she would sit at the piano herself, opening up her music and playing with the same smooth grace that I saw in her when she waltzed in Grandpa’s arms.

She took me to the library and let me spend as much time as I wanted selecting books. When I was finished, we stopped at the grocery store, where she told me to choose any piece of candy that I wanted. The choice was agonizing because it was such a rare treat, and I wanted to both savor the freedom to choose and make the perfect selection.

In my childhood, the things Grandma did for me and allowed me to do were at the forefront of my mind. As I grew up, I began to realize that her impact on my life was far more profound than providing me with powdered sugar donuts.

Grandma’s presence was reliable throughout my life. She was there at basketball games, music concerts, and awards ceremonies. At every birthday party and every Christmas Eve, Grandma’s presence was a certainty. She drove 45 miles one way to take me to piano lessons, and during those drives we spoke about my future.

Actually, it was a bit of a one-sided conversation. Grandma was a champion of education, and she was determined that her grandchildren would go to college. When I announced my engagement, her statement was simple. “Congratulations. You better be planning to stay and finish college.” Her pride was evident when she watched me grasp my diploma.

To read about my experiences with her, a person would think that I was an only grandchild. The truth is that she extended this dedication nine times over, and she had a special connection with her 15 great grandchildren as well.

The evolution of my admiration for Grandma never stopped. My five-year-old appreciation for the sweetened cereal gave way to an appreciation of her beauty and grace. I admired her wit and her ability to retain everything she read or heard, and I was certain that she could defeat any of the Jeopardy contestants that she faithfully watched five days a week. But later in my life, when she watched each of my four children at the baptismal font, I realized that she has been the steadfast example of how to live as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.

Grandma’s faith was an inseparable component of her life. She didn’t lecture me about how to live as a Christian; she showed me. She didn’t tell me how to nurture my children; she had already demonstrated it in my early years. She did not offer marital advice; she griped about Grandpa’s habits while dedicating nearly 65 years of her life as his wife. She was not afraid of death. She was thankful for her blessings, had lived a full life, and was ready to meet her Savior.

I only wish that I could let her go with the same grace that she possessed.


Well done, good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord. ~ Matthew 25:23


Suz said...

Hugs to you and your family as you grieve the loss of your Grandmother.
Celebrating her eternal life today as well.


Anonymous said...

Oh, this made me miss my grandma. Even though the characteristics you described reminded me more of Husband's grandma, who is also no longer with us. What a blessing to have known them! Praising God that your grandma is with Him today!

QuiltedSimple said...

So sorry for your loss! From your post, she sounds like a wonderful lady!

Mum-me said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Grandma. No doubt she was as proud of you as you are of her. Praying for you as you come to terms with living on earth without her around.

Joy said...

Erin, that was such a beautifully written tribute to a beautiful lady. Prayers for you and your family.


Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. Remember that this is not "Goodbye". This is "See you later!"
Your grandma and mine would have gotten along fine. Wonder if their chatting in heaven?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Erin. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet grandmother. Her love and beauty certainly shine through in the pictures you shared. Sending you hugs and prayers.


Pony Girl said...

What a sweet post. I am teary reading it. My grandma (on my dad's side) passed away when I was a senior in high school. I was so dissapointed that I never got to get to know her when I was old enough to really appreciate who she was. She was amazing, such an energy, so positive, she was a writer and probably a major contributer to who I am today as far as my creative side. I know she had a big impact on me, but I still wish I had known her as an adult.

Ann from Montana said...

Weeping...for your loss and my own beloved grandmothers.

Dawn said...

Oh, Erin...

What a beautiful, touching tribute to your grandmother. My heart aches for you tonight as I read this post. My own Granny just passed away on Jan. 6th so I truly do understand. I believe our grandmothers were cut from the same cloth!

May you be comforted by the many wonderful memories you have and encouraged in the knowledge that you will see her again in Heaven.

My prayers are with you and your family.

Love and blessings,

Willow Tree said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, so grateful you have shared her here. Your words make me ache for my Grams; she's been home in heaven for almost 10 years. You have reminded me of where I come from and who I want to be. Your Grandma's legacy will live on and on, in you and yours. Praise God it's not goodbye, it's "Until you meet again."

(((HUGS))) and Blessings,

DayPhoto said...

Oh, Honey! I am so sorry.


Jenny said...

Sounds like a wonderful lady! Sounds alot like my own grandmother. So sorry for your family's loss. Prayers are with you.

Susan Rose said...

No fair makin' me cry at work!

What a wonderful tribute to a special person. You have been greatly blessed. I had a Christian grandmother too, and she filled many needs in my life.

Anonymous said...

Erin, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how much your grandma meant to you. You have such a way with words. You both were truly blessed to have each other. She sounded like a awesome lady.


Nicole said...

This is a beautiful tribute. It brought tears to my eyes.

Anonymous said...

I knew I would cry while reading this. You are so much like her I think.
Like Suz said, celebrating her eternal life too.


Heidi said...

My sympathys to you and your family. What a great example you have been given to follow. The verse you chose at the end of your post was SO fitting and my favorite verse. Isnt it a great feeling to know that she is in the arms of her Savior and rejoiceing in His presence - waiting for the rest of her family to join her. Our prayers are with you and your family....

Haf Dozen Reasons....... said...

Beautiful!!!!! May the memories of her help salve your broken heart.

Trista said...

Imagine if the whole world had such an amazing woman as their Grandmother. This is such a beautiful tribute to your Grandma. I'm sorry for your loss.
Thanks for sharing her with us.

Farmchick said...

What a beautiful tribute to your is hard to lose Grandparents but so wonderful to know she is in heaven!!

~ Straight Shooter ~ said...

I am thinking of you.
You've heard the saying, "God couldn't be everywhere, so He created Grandmothers." Sounds like yours was one that was a Personal Appointment in your life!

insanelybusymomma said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved Grandmother. I lost my Gramma not quite a year ago, so I know all too well the hole that's left knowing she's gone.

What a wonderful post celebrating all she was for your family.

Thoughts and prayers to you and yours

Melody said...

I lost my grandmother, who lived with us, this past November. She was much like yours; at 96, she had lived a full life, traveled, learned three languages, and was close to finishing her Associates' Degree. I miss her every day, even though living with a 96 year-old can have it's challenges. :) She knew her Lord and was vital, energetic, and very much alive until her last day. I can't wait to see her again!
I am so sorry for you and your family. Take care of yourselves. It's easy to not do that when you're mourning!

Bush Babe said...

Oh you made me cry... what a beautiful tribute!! My own grandmothers are both gone but leave quiet indelible legacies in their descendents. I see one's stubborn redhead mixed with irresistable charm in my daughter, I see the cheeky irrepressible delight in life's little mysteries in my son.

She is still here and sometimes it's hard to see the departed through grieving eyes. You just have to look a little harder than you did before.

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