When I think of my dear mom and all the memories I have of her, one fact remains true: My grandmother is the cornerstone of how my life unfolded and how my siblings and I came into being. Without her, there would have been no Mom of mine. In honour of Mother’s Day, here is my insight into a grandmother’s love.
Family ties lie deep within our being and are a permanent part of ourselves.
March 23. That was my maternal grandmother’s birth date, the day that she graced the world with her presence. And as long as I can remember, my Nana had a role in my life right from the beginning.
She was present at my birth and helped mom care for me, because, at that time Dad was a sea captain and was away for months at a time.
Still finding my feet, Nana often took me to morning mass. Cleary, I don’t remember the masses, but I have a distinct memory of holding a hand and dragging my small legs to someone’s patient stride. Later on, unlike many children my age, I seemed to know a lot of prayers, all because of Nana.
Her hugs were the best. The laughter with her was bottomless. The connection was magical.
Besides Mom, Nana was the next female constant in my life. She loved me unconditionally and had the freedom to spoil me just because she was a grandma. She was my biggest fan and a lifelong friend. Through the best of times and the not so best, Nana always knew what to say. After all, Nana’s always make it better.
We shared each other’s hopes and dreams. Her dreams were simple: to be surrounded by people she loved and to cherish every moment with them. Possessions, accomplishments, recognition – those things weren’t important to her, but family was. Family was everything.
Having lived through two World Wars, Nana had many stories of the hardships she faced especially during WW II. Our “first world” problems today pale in comparison to what she experienced: living under house arrest with five children, managing with little food and having their home bombed. Through all this Nana and my grandpa found great courage and faith to survive the trials they encountered.
So time she spent with family and her friends was precious. If she had any regrets, it would be not spending enough time. “Life is short,” she would tell me. “Whatever you do, don’t waste it.”
Each of us has a special gift to share, and Nana reminded me of that. She disliked reading music but instead played the piano by ear. I would sit next to her while she brought so many songs to life on those keys: Oldies like Let me Call You Sweetheart, the Anniversary Waltz, and It’s a long way to Tipperary were just a sampling of what we would sing together. To this day I still remember the joy brought to all who were lucky enough to experience her gift of music.
The years passed and as they did, our bond grew stronger. In spite of the distance that separated us, we always took the time to connect. Each time I spent with her was precious, but having Nana hold my baby daughter and share in our joy was something I will never forget.
I am grateful to have many memories of my Nana: How she prayed quietly with my grandfather which always followed in contrast with a lively “Happy Hour”; arriving to visit and seeing Nana’s outstretched arms, reading her telling expressions because I just knew what she was thinking; and seeing that twinkle in her eyes that said so much more.
I am grateful for the lessons that she taught me, of being charitable towards others, being forgiving and most important having faith and trust in God. “God comes first,” she would say.
My life changed when Nana died twenty years ago. I lost my soulmate in a sense, someone who knew me better than I knew myself. Her gifts to me were irreplaceable. She was irreplaceable.
I’m thankful for having Nana in my life. Without her, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. And even more important, I wouldn’t have had the precious mother whom I loved so much. Nana used to tell me “You’ll only have one mother,” but she failed to add I would only have one grandmother.*
The treasures close to our heart are the ones that are with us forever. Those are the ones that we will always have with us throughout our lives.
Thank you, Nana, for being my treasure.
Still missing you Mom. Love you always. ♥
*My father’s mother died when he was 11 years old, which is why Nana was the only grandmother my siblings and I knew.