Every year at Christmas I make a few thousand gingerbread cookies. It’s a family tradition that’s been going on for almost fifty years. The cookies all look the same with their ginger brown bodies and cinnamon eyes. You know that each one is going to taste delicious.
However, grandparents aren’t all cut from the same dough. They don’t look alike, they don’t live the same, they each bring something unique to their grandchildren.
I had three very different grandmothers. I loved all three in very different ways.
Grandma Roze looked like the quintessential grandmother. She was soft and round with grey hair. But that’s where it stopped. Grandma Roze had only a fourth-grade education but she owned the ‘Sweet Shop’ which was situated next to the town’s only theater. There were no treats in the theater. If you wanted treats during the movie you had to see my grandmother. She managed her shop for thirty years. She was a great businesswoman.
Grandma Roze was stern! You didn’t mess around in her house or there would be trouble, but she always had food on the stove. You never went hungry at grandmas. She was a great cook and liked to bake. For Christmas, she would send us a huge box of home-made cookies that were kept safe in show house popcorn. I lived for her package at Christmas time. She was the BEST grandma.
Grandma Verenda was Grandpa Dean’s first wife, my mother’s mother. She was tall, slender and beautifully coiffured. I never actually met her until I was in my teens, but I knew unequivocally that she loved me. How did I know this? She never forgot my birthday. I got a card and some money every year and she sent a fabulous gift every Christmas. We always got silky underwear with the days of the week embroidered on them. When you’re in a family of nine new underwear is priceless! She also sent hand lotion and perfume. It was magnificent. I waited with bated breath every December for that box. Anyone who was so diligent and sent such beautiful things just had to love you. She was the BEST grandma.
Grandma Ann was Grandpa Dean’s second wife. She was a schoolteacher, compact, and brooked no nonsense. She lived in a brick house in a beautiful small town. We didn’t go there often because she didn’t like my dad. We all knew it. Even though I knew how she felt I loved going to Grandma Ann’s. She had a special cupboard. It was filled with paper, crayons, markers, chalk, small blank books, pencils, and pens. It was the most amazing thing. I knew that despite any trouble the adults were having my Grandma Ann must care about us because she kept that cupboard stocked and when we got there, we could take whatever we wanted. I opted for the little blank books because I was sure, in my little girl’s heart, that I would be a writer someday. She was the BEST grandma.
These three wonderful women were nothing alike. My relationship with each of them was very different. However, I never compared these grandmas to each other. As a child, I loved each one. I knew that time and distance and family issues didn’t matter because each one brought something wonderful into my life.
Grandparents don’t come from cookie cutters. They’re each different. They each bring something needful to their grandkids.
Recently, I wrote an article on what makes a GREAT grandparent. I shared the stories of six grandmothers who were different from one another. But in every case, their grandchildren thought they were the BEST.
Children are wonderful. They accept what’s offered. My grandmas each offered me something different. Each one added something meaningful to my life. I never compared them. I knew they loved me and that was enough. I had three of the BEST grandmas.