“Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.”

When I was a young girl, I went through a stretch of time that I felt like I had no friends. It was around middle school, and while I had “friends” I felt like all of my friends had other stronger bonds and I was the big cheese that stood alone. I remember crying to my mom about it, as my usual cry-y self, I think after not getting invited to a party that the entire 7th grade population of the Algonquin wing of Scarborough Middle School – sans about 7 people – were invited to. I remember my mom telling me something that has stuck with me for my whole life… “Michelle, your mother should be your best friend.”

It’s funny, I didn’t really understand what she meant until I was older…about 18. And, it has taken on a whole new meaning now that I am a mother myself. She’s the first one I call when Charlie has a sniffle, and the one I’m most excited to share his milestones with. My mom is my best friend, and she always will be.

They say that babies bring families together. Tristan and I are beyond lucky that we have our families so close by. His family gets together more regularly than mine. But, now that Charlie is here, we see both sets of parents pretty much every week. I talk to my mother almost every day, especially now that she has learned to text. While I never measured our love for each other by the number of times we spoke, I have to say that I love the change to my relationships with my family that Charlie has unknowingly initiated. It’s funny how such a tiny thing can bring so many positive things into your life.

I had some really great grandparents growing up. I never knew my father’s father, But, my Grammy W. (on my Dad’s side) used to pick me up once a week, every week, to bring me to dance class. There was about 2 hours between school and dance, so I’d go to her house and we’d spend time together. She and I would have some of the best conversations about all kinds of things. She started to teach me how to play the organ. It was wonderful.

For the longest time, my sister and I used to go with my Grammy S. (mom’s side) every Sunday to a movie. The smell of the inside of a Volvo brings me back to those trips. We’d go to her house when we were sick from school and she’d make us soup as we laid on the couch…she’d even read through the TV guide for us to pick the show we wanted to watch. We’d visit all the time, and she’d make us the type of sandwiches only a grandmother could make – cream cheese and walnut, or cream cheese and olive, or ham cheese and tomato. (Her tomatoes always tasted better.) When we’d spend the night, she’d always make us air popped popcorn…then in the morning, we’d have cereal and she’d make me finish drinking the milk from the bowl. (Leftover milk from the Fruit Loop bowl still reminds me of her.)

Oh, and I can’t forget the gumdrops. She had a container full, and we were only allowed to take 5. I always went for the purples, they were my favorite.

And my grandfather was always there, napping in his chair. He’d come to our softball games because he loved sports. And when I got older, I remember interviewing him about his Naval experience in the war. They were both amazing people.

Not a day goes by that I don’t regret that, as I got older, I stopped visiting them as often. You know, how you get into college and visiting Grammy and Grampy just doesn’t fit onto the top of your to-do list? But there’s nothing I’d love more than to have another chat with Grammy W. Or taste more tomatoes from Grammy S.’s garden in a freshly made ham and cheese. Or walk into their house and seem my Grampy sleeping, mouth agape, in his Lay-z-boy.

As I sit here preparing for the arrival of my in-laws for the Super Bowl, and after having had a visit by my mom yesterday, I can’t help but reflect. I love that Charlie is going to get to make wonderful memories with our parents. And even luckier, Charlie gets to know his Great-Nana and Great-Grampa on Tristan’s side. And while I know that I can’t make him, I hope he cherishes his relationship with his grandparents as much as I do mine and that he doesn’t ever let is slip away, no matter how many more “important” things he thinks he has to do.

Because grandparents just have a way of making you feel safe…like they’ll always be there. Until one day, you wake up, and they’re gone.

“I loved their home. Everything smelled older, worn but safe; the food aroma had baked itself into the furniture.”

One Thought on “Elephants and grandchildren never forget.

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