My grandmother’s lap was always my safe haven. Her arms were peaceful, loving, comforting. She was my solace when my young eyes had seen more than they should.
I’d climb up on the arm of her chair with a book and she’d read to me for however long I wanted. I’d trace my fingers over her freckles and ask almost daily about her mother’s ring with all the pretty stones. She’d tell me about each one and whose stone was whose.
In hot summer months I’d sit at her knees while she french ‘platted’ my hair. She’d tell me how her mother used to do the same for her. When the summer thunderstorms started kicking up, she would turn off all the power reminding us that her house wasn’t grounded. She’d make my sister and I sit in the middle of the living room away from the windows. We’d sit on opposite ends of the room and push a car or roll a ball back and forth. While we waited for the storm to pass, she’d tell us the same ghost stories her parents had told her. My favorite was about her daddy walking home one rainy night. He’d hear horse hooves and light a match to see and just before the wind and rain would snuff them out, he’d see ghostly horses that weren’t really there. My grandma could tell a story like no one else, she always had me captivated. She’d end each ghost story by saying, “Now that’s the truth,” and she was serious. We’d beg for this stories time and time again and as the years passed and she was no longer able to tell them, my heart ached and longed for them once more.
When the summer heat got the best of us, she’s freeze cherry koolaid in pop bottles and we’d suck and slurp them all day long. Whether it was while helping her string and snap beans, or just playing around her house, those frozen cherry koolaids are to this day the taste of summertime for me. There will never be a better summer time treat.
My grandmother taught me the importance of housework and motherhood. She taught me there was value in taking care of what you have and putting work before play. She also taught me the importance of an afternoon treat after all that work. I still remember her ever-present Diet Riet Cola and there was always an abundance of snack cakes. I admittedly still go into their kitchen hoping there’s a raisin cream cake to bring back a taste of childhood.
My grandmother could be stern, but she was also gentle and loving. She loved to call her church friends in the afternoons and talk the hours away. She especially enjoyed it when company would stop by and she could have a nice long chat.
Caring for others was what she did for as long as I can remember, and becoming a stay at home mother taught me what hard work that truly is. She never made us feel as though we wore her down, although I’m sure we often tried her patience. Her house was always open, as were her arms.
I am deeply saddened that I will never again be able to climb up on her lap and have her tell me a story. But I am ever grateful that the babies I, and other family members, have lost will now have Granny’s lap to climb onto. I know she’ll love them in all the ways we physically cannot. And one day, I will finally get to see her holding them as I wish she could’ve on this earth.