Today is my grandma’s birthday.
I’ve been thinking about her a lot in the last twenty-four hours since the Skillet Throw and knowing it was her birthday the next day.
My grandma was not perfect.
She was kinda judgmental and a little bit of a racist in a super naive and ignorant way.
But she was the perfect grandma for me.
She was my nursery school teacher and one of my biggest cheerleaders and I loved her so much.
I still do.
She died almost six years ago.
She would have been 97 today.
She was one of the most grandmothery grandmas there ever was.
She was so well-liked and grandmothery that she ran a kid over on his bike — she didn’t get her license until she was in her 60’s and she was a pretty shitty driver — and the kid (who fully recovered from being run over by Grandma ) came to her funeral to pay his respects 30 years later.
Grandma had a dish pan in her sink and she always wore an apron.
She had rocking chairs on her front porch and an old, metal bench swing on her back porch.
She had the same hairstyle for about seventy years.
She had a whole bunch of organized photo albums that all the grandkids would look at when we went to her house.
I’d sleep over there a lot and she’d give me a quarter for doing things like taking the curlers out of her hair and helping her dry the dishes.
She had a formica kitchen table and a cuckoo clock in her dining room and plastic on her couch and super cheesy wallpaper.
Her house was always neat. Things were always in their place.
I can remember exactly what her bathroom looked like and smelled like and whenever I slept over at her house (which was often) I used her Colgate toothpaste.
And every time I use it I think of her.
It’s crazy how you can make such strong associations with ordinary, everyday things.
She never failed to have the plastic swimming pool ready to go for my brother and me in the summer when we went to her house.
She ate everything in moderation, and she was never overweight.
She loved babies.
She LOOOOOOOVED babies.
She loved them when she was in her fifties.
And she loved ’em when she was in her nineties.
I didn’t realize how similar we were until recently.
She got married because she had to, if you know what I mean.
So did I.
Well, the first time.
(I’ll share that story again some other time).
Her marriage was pretty messed up.
And so is mine.
She gave birth to four kids pretty close in age.
I gave birth to five.
She was a nursery school teacher.
I was an elementary school teacher.
She loved to write.
I love to write.
She used words like rascal and numbskull and cunnin.
And I use words like, um…
Okay, our vocabularies are a little bit different.
I never heard my grandma curse.
Anyway, I’ve been missing my grandma.
Gma, as we called her.
And I just wanted to make sure everyone thought about her today.
Cause she was an awesome lady.
And I miss her a lot.
If Grandpa is up there with you, I hope he’s being nice.
If not, chuck another frying pan at him.
Happy 97th Gma.
You were one of a kind.
And I’m so glad you were mine.