Looking Back…

I was just reading a post over at The Simple Dollar. Trent was talking about a summer spent with his grandfather, working in the garden and all the things he learned, and remembers, from that time.
It made me think of my grandma, all in a rush. Not the grandma I just saw on Saturday, but my Grandma Jacobs, who passed away while I was in college. I’ve never sat down and thought about what I learned from her but I think there was a lot.
First of all, she always encouraged me to read. I loved to go to Grandma’s house where we would both sit with our noses buried in books, eating M&Ms, for hours. I was a quiet, bookish kiddo and Grandma never made me go out and play when there were books to be read.
She let my imagination go crazy. When the restaurant in the store my Grandpa worked in was going out of business, he brought home menus, order pads, swizzle sticks and table tents. Grandma quite patiently ordered the same food over and over and pretended to be excited over it when I brought it with my waitress flourish. She also had no problem letting me cover the living room floor with magazines and building blocks to create a town. My creations were never in the way.
She was always interested in my life. I remember telling her countless things about anything and everything. And she always listened and was interested in them. I try and keep that in mind when listening to my 6 year old nephew tell me something, that to my adult ears, seems silly. In his life, it’s important, so, I should listen.
She wrote me letters. I still write letters now. Not to everyone, all the time, but I know how good it feels to get a letter in the mail. Of course, she also used to send me “snack money” so that made the letters extra nice in college. And now that I’ve thought of it, I need to write a letter to my Grandpa, her husband. I miss him.
Grandma was always in my corner. She celebrated my victories and cursed my enemies with me. She agreed that my Dad was stubborn, kids at school were stupid and sometimes life was crap without all that stuff about me being only a kid and I would look back and laugh. She was empathetic to my teenage angst.
We also never bought new books together. We always went to Remarkable Books where Ken had a stack saved for her. She’d trade in what she had read and get some new ones. I’d get to pick a few as well. I learned that you don’t have to buy brand new books to enjoy reading them.
I feel very sad to know she wasn’t alive to share the victories with me when I became a journalist (a dream I’d had since I was about 8), when I graduated from college, and when I got married. She would really like my husband. And I’m sure she’d still tell us both that the snack drawer was ready if we got hungry.