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Chicken Soup for the Soul: Woven with Love

Thứ Tư, 27/4/2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandmothers
BY: Joy Faire Stewart



Phong cảnh Đà Lạt. Ảnh: Minh Quang

Grandmas never run out of hugs or cookies.
~Author Unknown

"Have any grandchildren, yet?" acquaintances would ask. "You'd better get busy or you'll be too old to keep up with grandkids." This bit of wisdom was usually followed by a brag book unfolded before me with adorable photos of chubby-faced cherubs in Easter outfits, kids clad in Winnie the Pooh pajamas tearing into Santa's packages, or a little dumpling planting a soggy kiss on Granny's cheek.

I often listened to friends reminisce about the special bond they had with their grandmothers; however, I had never experienced that relationship. My grandmothers were faded photos on my mother's dressing table, and stories shared by my parents of their childhood. Both my grandmothers died long before I was born -- my maternal grandmother died giving birth to her eighth child.

From the time I rocked my babies in the old wooden rocker, handed down through three generations, I dreamed of sitting in the same rocker spoiling grandbabies.

As the years quickly sped by, my husband and I were proud of the talents and accomplishments of our children as they each excelled in their chosen professions -- marriage and family on hold.

Many of our friends had grandkids in high school, while others were celebrating the birth of great-grandchildren.

Though at times it seemed there was a missing fabric in the crazy quilt of our lives, I loved the trips our kids invited us to take with them: Christmas in snowy Colorado, misty, early mornings on the cliffs of Maine, chairlift rides along the mountain range of Vermont.

Then, in her mid-thirties, our daughter announced she had met the man of her dreams. In a beautiful Christmastime wedding, our family increased -- not by one but by three. Her new husband came with a bonus, a daughter and a son. Instant grandma!

The world of karate opened to me when the grandkids asked, "Grandma, you're coming to my next match, aren't you?" When they earned their black belts, I cheered the loudest.

Through the years my brag book grew fatter with vacation, birthday parties, and holiday photos. The grandkids' favorite gift under the Christmas tree each year? Christmas pokes. Instead of stockings, I stitched each of them a bag from holiday fabrics and ribbons to hold small toys and candies. One of my favorite stories from my mom was of her mother hand-stitching gift bags from flour sacks she trimmed with cotton lace. She had called them pokes.

Clouds sweep into every life, and one of our darkest made its appearance when our grandson was diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumor. Following many surgeries, we spent long hours next to his hospital bed. When he lost his hair to chemo treatments, his dad shaved away his own mane of dark hair. We all wore yellow wristbands, and when asked about the band, I shared my grandson's brave battle. After years of intense treatments, his tumor was finally under control.

Our lives took another unexpected turn one Sunday morning after the young adult Sunday School class my husband taught. One of the young ladies asked if she could speak with him. Thinking it was a question about the lesson, he was surprised and humbled when she said, "Will you be my dad?" She had previously shared with us the difficult time she had growing up.

We instantly added a wonderful daughter and two more fabulous grandkids to our family. With these new additions, we were introduced to the exciting world of show animals as we sat for hours on backless bleachers at county fairs. It didn't matter if their animals won trophies. The pride we felt from our grandkids' dedication to hard work couldn't be measured. And who was called when an animal escaped from its pen? Grandpa!

When word got around about that special adoption, we were asked to be grandparents for two other beautiful baby girls. We were instantly transported back to the fantasy world of Disney characters and Barbie dolls. I began another brag book.

We don't know if our family is complete, but if other fabrics are added, they too, will be stitched with love and gratitude into the warmth of our family quilt.



Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/Chicken-Soup-For-The-Soul/2011/04/Woven-with-Love.aspx#ixzz1KgtE6TYu
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