Monday, May 05, 2008

happy birthday!



Today/tomorrow (May 6) is my Grandma Colleen's birthday. I am so excited to be able to write about some of my favorite things about her (and I need to write a half-birthday post in a couple of months for my grandpa, since I was away from my computer at his birthday right before Christmas).

I've written before on my blog about how a lot of the motivation for my blogging is due to my grandma, who is the queen of memoir writing. She actually teaches a memoir class--how cool is that?! Anyway, one of the things that impresses me most about my grandma is how diligent she is about recording things. This is probably due in large part to her career--she wrote for The Deseret News, The Salt Lake Tribune, and the Church News, which means we got to hear lots of really cool stories when we were little kids about all the things she reported on and the people she met.

In any case, one of the things I really treasure is a box full of letters from my grandma when I was a little kid. The letters are full of little stories about what she was doing that week (accompanied by drawings done by my grandpa) and every so often I get them out and read through them all to Abigail. What's even more impressive to me is that she's never stopped writing me--I can always count on an email every week and a "snail mail" letter every month or so. I always feel like I'm up-to-date on her life (and I aspire to be as regular a correspondent--I'm working on it!), but more importantly, I feel so loved because she takes the time to write to me so regularly.

On that note, another thing that I really appreciate about my grandma are the "good manners" things that she's instilled in me. She is incredibly diligent about writing thank-you notes, which means that I've become that way too (especially since my mom always encouraged us to be prompt with our thank-you notes to my grandma, since my mom knew that was something that was important to my grandma). For years, my grandma has given me boxes of the most delightful stationary so I always have something fun and cute to write my little notes on. It makes it so much more fun. :-)

One of my favorite things about visiting my grandma's home is looking around at all the things she's collected over the years. This isn't a "favorite thing" just because it's fun to look at all the interesting pieces; it's one of my favorite things because everything has a story attached to it and when I look around I remember that she took the time to explain to a very curious child why each thing was special to her. Whenever I visited my grandparents, I always looked forward to the stories they would tell me. My grandma's stories were always fascinating because they were about my mother as a little girl, or a particularly interesting experience my grandmother had, or a story from my grandma's childhood. My grandpa's stories were fascinating because I always had to figure out what was true about them (it was years before I realized my grandpa couldn't really take his head off and roll it down the stairs), but that's another story.

With all of these fascinating things to look at and learn about, my grandma's home could be like a hands-off museum--but it's not. We loved going there as kids because she had special dressups for us, special dishes for us to play house with (which I loved so much that I've tried to find the same for my own home now), and we could always play with her enormous collection of teddy bears, which Abigail also loves whole-heartedly.

Another thing that I love about my grandma is how stylish she is. She always has her toenails flawlessly painted (a lot of the time that I'm sitting next to her I look down and realize that I need to repaint mine! I don't know why, but I'm always so impressed by this. Maybe because it's something I always forget to do), she has the most gorgeous white hair (my mom and I had a lively discussion recently about how we're really hoping our hair achieves the same glowing white shade as we get older), and she's always beautifully accessorized, often with a piece of jewelry that one of her granddaughters gave her (and she always remembers who gave it to her, even if it was ten years earlier and says something like, "Do you remember when you gave me these earrings? I love them! Thank you again!").

The last thing that I want to write about is how thoughtful my grandma is in her gift-giving. She seems to have a feel for just when I need a little pick-me-up, and I'll go out to the mailbox to find a card with some money for Neil and I to go out to dinner, or I'll have a really dismal gloomy day and get a box from my grandparents containing a set of colorful funky placemats and some of my favorite magazines (oh, and it's entirely due to my grandma that I get my favorite Martha Stewart Living every month!). The very first Christmas that Neil and I were married, we were in Utah, I remember crying myself to sleep on Christmas Eve because I missed my family and our "traditions" so much. On Christmas morning, I opened a present from my grandparents that contained placemats and napkins that were the exact pattern (right down to the gold threads) of the tablecloth that my mom always uses for Christmas dinner. I can't even tell you how much that meant to me to be able to set our teeny tiny little table with those happy red-and-green squares! Another gift that meant the world to me (and Abigail!) is when my grandma bought Abigail some storybooks for Christmas and then made an audio tape of herself reading the stories so that Abigail could listen to her great-grandma reading to her while she looked at the pictures. Abigail loves that tape (it's our regular lunchtime request!) In short, my grandparents are always thinking about other people, and it's something that I really admire about both of them.

So happy birthday, Grandma! I am SO EXCITED to see both of you in a couple of weeks!!!!!! And yes, that is another amazing thing about my grandparents--they come to visit me!! (They even took the Amtrak train out to Utah to visit us when we lived there! Isn't that awesome?! It means a lot to me to have them come visit, even though they know I can come visit them, it's so exciting to be able to show them around my life and my little places and home and things like that.)

I love you so much--happy birthday!

1 comment:

Elise Decker said...

our grandma does have the sweetest hair of any grandma i've ever seen!!!! ever! happy birthday grandma! i'm sorry i couldn't see you yesterday cause of my meeting, but I hope you like the truffles we made you!

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