My grandmother had eleven children- nine girls and two boys. Her life was no picnic. But being her grandkid was the greatest childhood imaginable.
My brothers and I had a seemingly endless number of cousins. We spent summers with them at her place in Florida, wandering through the woods and wading through her flower and vegetable gardens. We stayed out of trouble, so we didn’t have to go indoors.
Our grandmother adored us, but she didn’t have time for kids who misbehaved– even grandkids.
Being in her yard was the highlight of every summer we spent in Florida, but it’s an expression of hers that I remember the most.
“You are so special.” she would say when I kissed her goodbye.
“What a special thing to do,” she would tell me, if I helped her or gave her something.
Year after year, she whispered the same words to me and my brothers (and later we would learn, to all her grandchildren).
It took becoming a mom myself before I understood that my grandmother (with such a huge family) didn’t waste anything–not even words.
When she had a one-on-one moment with her grandchildren, she wanted us to know how much we mattered to her.
Telling us how “special” we were reminded us of our value as an individual. It made us feel (though we were small and her family was large), her world wouldn’t be the same without us.
It planted the seed that, even in a bigger world than our family, we could always make a difference…just by being ourselves.
What memories do you have of your grandparents? I’d love to hear them!