A few weeks ago our daughter told Phillip and me that we would become grandparents in the Fall. So many emotions….. excitement, nervousness, I can’t believe I’m old enough to be a grandparent. People joke that grandchildren will be fun because you can enjoy them, and then hand them back to their parents, but oh there is so much more. I hope that I can be as wonderful as both sets of grandparents that I grew up with and who I loved so dearly. I never felt that they tired of me, even when I wasn’t on my best behavior. They loved me unconditionally, gave me so many wonderful memories, and most of all taught me things that helped to build the foundation that I will always have as I make my journey through this world. I hope I can be half the grandparent to my grandchildren, as my grandparents were to me. I hope I can do a good job in passing on what they taught me.
My maternal and paternal grandparents were so different, but the one thing that they shared was their love for me. Gandad was my paternal grandfather. We rode horses around his farm, and I went on business trips with him. When I was the tiniest little thing, I would grab my little pillow to sit on, climb up onto a stump in his yard, and my Gandad would hoist me up into the saddle to sit in front of him, setting me carefully on my pillow. Then we would go out into the pastures to count the cows. He was teaching me how to count and about responsibility. Gandad also owned a food distributorship and traveled often, many times taking me with him. I guess he was preparing me for my life later on, I feel like I am always living in a car because of baseball. I would attend lunch meetings between him and other businessmen, so he was teaching me table manners and respect for my elders. Gandad was also a very funny man. He reminded my mother of the comedienne Jack Benny. He was teaching me that a sense of humor is important.
My paternal grandmother was probably the most beautiful person I have ever known. In the few years that I was able to be around her, I learned so much. My favorite memories of my NanNan are spending every weekend with her and my grandfather and sitting out on their back porch. On that back porch surrounded by so many Dogwood trees that it looked like snow falling, she taught me how to snap beans, shuck corn, about the different kinds of birds in the world, and the flowers growing in her yard. She gave me my love for reading and music, taught me about kindness and gentleness towards others, and about Jesus. She also would get a switch off a tree when I needed it. She didn’t play. I was just devastated when she suddenly passed away. I spent so much time with her and she was my rock during a difficult time in my young life. I see a lot of her in my daughter. The pictures I have of my NanNan when she was young, look just like Britnee.
Grandaddy was my maternal grandfather. He was a fireman for forty years. He would take me to the fire department (the reel house) and I just loved all of his fellow firefighters there. By taking me there, he was teaching me about friendship and loyalty. He would play ball with me in the backyard and we watched I don’t know how many Braves games together. Little did he know, he was preparing me for my future life of sitting in the stands. When my mother, sister, and I had to live with him and Nannie for a while, I would be the second one up in the mornings after Grandaddy. He would be sitting in the kitchen in his white t-shirt and boxers, smoking a cigarette, drinking his coffee as he read the newspaper and he would turn to me and say, “Well good mornin’ baby.” (in his South Carolina accent) Then he would make me pancakes. Years later, I would drive over to his house for lunch and he’d fix me up a T-bone and oven fries while we watched ‘The Price Is Right’. Now remember he was a fireman, so he could do up some steak and fries. He was teaching me that quiet, quality time is important with the ones you love and that good food soothes the soul.
Nannie was my maternal grandmother. Oh how she loved all of her grandchildren so very much, and I loved all the times she spent with her sisters. When my Nannie saw you, she was so excited. She would grab you, kiss you so that you always had a set of red lips on your cheek afterwards, and hug you into her big bosom. We would all be literally smothered in love. It made me breathless many times, but it was wonderful. She was teaching me that you hug and love on the ones you love without being shy about it and that you love equally. Then there were the weekly get togethers with Nannie and her three sisters. She would take my little sister and me along to what Grandaddy called, “The Coffee Shop”. Actually, it was my great-aunt Sarah’s house where all the sisters would gather and laugh, talk, gossip, have their coffee and cigarettes. Nannie was teaching me that I would never like coffee nor cigarettes, but also that being a close family, enjoying time with your family, and support from your family is important. Those sisters were a hoot, so Southern, and they all hugged just alike. I can still hear them carrying on.
Yes, I pray that I can be a blend of these four wonderful people that God blessed me with and that their impact on me will be passed on through me to the next generation. I want to play with my grandchildren, leave a set of red lips on their cheeks, read to them, teach them about God’s creation, feed them delicious food, have quiet time with them. I want them to have those sweet memories that I have of my own grandparents. My greatest privilege and responsibility will be to teach my grandchildren about the love that God has for them and His wonderful saving grace. In this I want them to have a strong foundation. I want to help prepare the way for their walk on this earth, to give them strength in Jesus so they can handle what comes their way in this life and prepare them for eternal life with our Lord and Savior, so that when I do hand my grandchildren back to mama and daddy, they will have no doubt that they are loved……. smothered in it.
“But watch out! Be very careful never to forget what you have seen God doing for you. May His miracles have a deep and permanent effect upon your lives! Tell your children and your grandchildren about the glorious miracles He did.” –Deuteronomy 4:9
“So keep these commandments carefully in mind. Tie them to your hand to remind you to obey them, and tie them to your forehead between your eyes! Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting at home, when you are out walking, at bedtime, and before breakfast! Write them upon the doors of your houses and upon your gates, so that as long as there is sky above the earth, you and your children will enjoy the good life awaiting you in the land the Lord has promised you.” —Deuteronomy 11:18-21
NanNan and Gandad
Nannie and Grandaddy