Most rewarding is passing on grandma’s precious gift

I recently spent an afternoon planning an Easter surprise for my granddaughters. Just me and their other grandmother. The excitement and laughter of that day is a memory I’ll always cherish. If the girls have half as much fun with the gift as we did planning it, it will surely be an amazing memory for them as well. The experience brought memories of my own grandmother flooding in …
My grandmother impacted my life in many ways. She bought me my first manicure kit (from Avon, of course) and proceeded to teach me how to polish and care for my nails. She also bought me my first pair of high heels. These are all milestones in a young girl’s life and she made sure mine were special.

Grandma Lynn often took me along with her to get her hair ‘did’ and on one occasion she made an appointment for my first perm –– it was the ‘80s, after all. My perm was glorious and people said I looked like Bernadette Peters, which I took as a compliment, although I had no idea what she looked like at the time.

She showed me kindness in many ways and I loved her fiercely for it. I think she knew she was giving me a precious gift with her time and attention.

Growing up, my grandmother was the only person who ever asked what I wanted for Christmas and birthdays and she always got it exactly right.

Sometimes, I got to spend an entire weekend with her and she would let me plan our meals. We would flip through Better Homes and Gardens or Woman’s Day choosing a recipe and then go shopping at the grocery store together. I have especially fond memories of a Bisquick Impossible Cheesebuger pie.

These lessons spurred me to experiment on my own and soon I relished my title as the best cook in my family. I even prepared an entire three-course dinner for 12 guests when I was just 12 myself.

As an adult, I often returned to visit Grandma Lynn with my own children for her to admire and love on. We would sit in her backyard for family barbecues –– I have no idea what we ate but those were without a doubt the best barbeques I have ever attended. Her yard was tiny but tidy, the flowers well tended and a warm breeze would waft over the fence, enveloping us with the aroma of the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory from just around the corner.

Throughout my adulthood she remembered my birthday faithfully and I could always count on receiving a timely birthday card producing an explosion of confetti in every color, shape and form, spilling out with her warm wishes.

Here’s the thing: I was nearly 9 when I first met my Grandma Lynn. She was the mother of my mom’s new husband. She had other grandchildren of her own who lived in closer proximity.

But, she fit me in. Her love followed me no matter how far away I ran, and I am better for it.

I learned a lot about loving and listening from her. I hope I’ve done a good job of passing those lessons on to my own children. And, with my three local grandchildren.

Now, two little girls and their adorable baby brother benefit from the time Grandma Lynn spent with me. The girls call me Lolli.

I was in the room when Bethany (now 5) was born and I tell 3-year-old Aubrey stories of how I used to bathe her in my big spaghetti pot.

So when Bethany rewards me with an exclamation such as, “You’re the best Lolli!” or the little one greets me at the door by jumping into my arms, I suspect I have conveyed my affection to them adequately.

Their other grandma is one of my dearest friends. Our little grand girls call her Nonni. Thankfully, she lives nearby, too.

We all have Easter at Nonni’s house and recently started a new tradition of Mother’s Day at mine. If the situation sounds idyllic, that’s because it is.

With names such as Nonni and Lolli, I used to wonder, when Bethany was very little, if she even knew we are actually her grandmothers. Especially since Grandma is what she calls my mother.

So one day I read her a book about Grandmas and then asked, “Did you know that I’m your Grandma?” Bethany just smiled shyly, not sure if I was teasing. “Oh yes,” I assured her, I really am!”

“Nonni is too,” I added. “Nonni is your other grandma.”

“ No, her isn’t,” Bethany argued. “Nonni is my friend!”

I think my beloved Grandma Lynn would agree, it just doesn’t get better than that.