I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving break- full of food, family and fun! We made it to Austin and back- and while I am now worn out and sick as can be- I am glad we went. Thanksgiving has always been the one holiday where we always make plans to head down to Austin to see my mom's side of the family. And they are all there: my mom's two brothers and their wives, and her sister. And all of my cousins, there are 10 total. And of course, my grandfather. And this year, I can't tell you why- but it really hit me hard that my grandmother wasn't there. And she hasn't been for over 4 years now. Maybe its all of the joy and loss we have experienced over the past year that has made me stop and take in all that I have to be thankful for- and I realized how lucky I was to have such an amazing woman not just be my grandmother, but a role-model for me, as well.
I think back about her and I have some of the sweetest, fondest memories. I remember how when Fan Target and I were small, just for fun, she bought us little fur coats. And if I remember correctly- it was in the summer! There was a little hallway from the garage to the kitchen, and she made us wait while she introduced us like little princesses to whoever was visiting in the kitchen, and we walked in all fancy, showing our new coats off. I can remember how those coats smelled: like gigantic rabbits' feet. But I loved it. Loved the silliness of it all. I will always remember how pulled together and beautiful she always looked. Always. I remember how she always smiled and genuinely complimented me on something every time she saw me. I remember how her hands looks and how she always gave me sideways hug and then stood there holding on to me, her hands around me shoulder. She always remembered all of my friends names and asked how they were whenever we came to visit. She always wanted to hear about who I was dating, and I can remember how she said Jas looked like "movie star" when she phoned to tell me she had gotten the prom pictures I had sent her. I will never forget showing up to the Zeta house on Pref Night only to find her dressed to the nines waiting in the greeting line, all of the sisters and alums giddy with excitement that she had "just stopped by"! They all thought it was just the sweetest thing- a grandmother passing on her Zeta legacy, while my grandmother, seeing my shocked face just gave a little grin and winked at me. She had sealed the deal for me. And she had plotted it all along. She would have done anything for us grand kids- and she did. Spoiling us like crazy, but at the same time expecting proper manners, grammar and respect from us all. And she got it. She deserved it. I often think about how Olivia came when she did for not just Jas and I, but for other members of our family, too. Gary was able to watch her grow up some and have one of his grandchildren really know and remember him. And she made my grandmother a great-grandmother, even if was only for a few years. She got to see Olivia was she was a teensy baby. Got to bathe her, which was one of her favorite things to do- "Hydro-therapy" she called it. She got to see her as a little toddler and hear her say her name. I love that my grandfather always wants to have his picture made with my kids when we come to visit- he loves that he has great-grand kids and thinks that are "a hoot!" But I wish my grandmother was here to feel the same way. She always had a special place in her heart for little boys, and I know she would have been crazy about Luke. It was nice to have so many aunts and uncles come up to us this week and tell us how fun our kids are, that we are doing a good job of raising them... But I just wish she could have been here to see it. Something was definitely missing this Thanksgiving. A chair was empty. I missed my grandmother.
Its just one more thing that makes me grateful that my children have such great grandparents who love and adore them just as much as she did us. I feel in my heart that she does know our kids, does feel proud of us and that she watches over all of us from above. And I am thankful for that, too.