|Mama and Nanny at our wedding shower in 2007.|
I am, however, a little worried that when Nanny is finally allowed to rest eternally that she is going to be slightly miffed to be met at the gates of heaven by Gayla. I hope she realizes we didn't see how sharing sister's tragic death with her would have helped her quality of life. I am also hoping that I am right by telling Darling Daughter that ghosts don't exist because after living here on earth our souls don't want to stick around to just mess with people by opening and closing doors all the time...just in case Nanny is REALLY miffed.
Nanny has lived a long and colorful life with two late husbands, two loving and intelligent children, two caring affectionate children-in-law whom she has loved as if they were born to her, five grandchildren and their loving spouses and five great-grandchildren. She helped raise her sisters and brothers during the Depression and told us funny stories about living in the country. Nanny worked at the army depot in her young adulthood but was a stay-at-home mother for the most part.
When I was little, Nanny and I, to put it gently, butted heads a bit. I thought (and still believe) she favored Gayla over me, and occasionally my sass-a-frASS would show and get me into a mouthy debate with her. It wasn't all bad...I have been thinking about Nanny today and letting all the good things flow. Here's what keeps popping up:
She would perm my bone straight hair the day before school pictures, which I hear is what she used to do to my mother as well. She made me any number of crocheted sweaters and two crocheted dolls, Strawberry Shortcake and a baby doll I called Samantha, both of which I still have. Nanny even taught me to crochet with help from my left-handed Mama. She taught me about sewing and cooking and would always let me dust her living room with Pledge.
Bless her heart! Nanny tried on multiple occasions to keep all of us grand kids at the same time but seemed to always end up not feeling well with what we now call an IBS attack. I used to ask my Mama, "Is Nanny allergic to us?" Nanny introduced me to my love of coffee on those overnight visits as well as my love for crafting...what else do you do with five children in a two bedroom house for the weekend? She taught us all to climb the trees in her back yard and supervised us when we raced around the garden on Papa's home-made go-cart.
When I was four and Gayla had taught me how to copy the words "I love you" from her paper, I wrote it on EVERYTHING. I remember making Nanny and Papa a card with my one-liner scribbled in it with hearts and flowers. I also remember her telling my mother I must be some prodigy genius to already know how to read and write without schooling. I wish Mama had let her believe that for a little while because it made me proud that she was amazed by me.
Every summer I couldn't wait for Nanny and Papa to harvest purple hull peas from their garden so we could have ham, peas and cornbread with cantaloupe for dinner. I would sit there for hours shelling peas and helping Nanny bag them for freezing and cooking. At one family reunion, Nanny's sister's dog (NO LIE! A little bulldog in a diaper) chased my scared-of-dogs butt from one end of the campsite to the other with me screaming like a monster was chasing me. That afternoon, Nanny sent peas and ham over to our campsite to make me feel better.
At Christmas, Nanny made sugar cookies in the shapes of bows, wreaths, stockings, circles and bells. She would then coat them in a thin sugary, colorful shell of icing (Like crack cookies before crack cookies were crack cookies). Nanny also taught us to take plastic grids cut into Christmas shapes and create ornaments with a long needle and crochet yarn.
One of the times Nanny was her sweetest with me was when one of these four-inch needles accidentally went through the bottom of my foot. I might have been in shock because I don't remember it hurting but thought it looked really strange protruding from the bottom of my foot with the yarn still laced through the eye. Without so much as a blink, Nanny reached down and yanked out the needle and yarn. She had me prop up my foot with an ice bag held to my foot with an ace bandage. She may have yelled at the offending grandchild who had left the needle on the floor, which is always a plus among cousins and siblings in those situations. I think I just remember being thankful she wasn't yelling at me for once.
The summer after my Papa passed away at Christmas, Mama and Daddy decided Nanny should go with us on our vacation to Bull Shoals. We all rode in Nanny's motor home and talked to someone on the CB Radio (like cell phones before cell phones were cell phones). Nanny gave us each "handles." Gayla was Engine Number 1, Bubba was Caboose and I was Center Stage. She may have been taking a dig at my over-dramatization of life, but I chose to believe at the time that she thought I was charming and adorable and entertaining enough to be on the center stage in a circus.
I hope I loved on Nanny enough in this lifetime so that she knows how much she means to me. I pray she is embraced in heaven with the healing love of our Father without suffering here on earth. I am not looking forward to a life without her in it. May God bless her and keep her always. I love you, Nanny.
UPDATE: Mama messaged me yesterday that Nanny was going back to her nursing home.