Let me introduce you to my Granny. Her name is Flora.
She has always been a Most Important Person in my life. In fact, she is the reason I am in this family. As you may recall, I am adopted. Someday I'll have to share my whole story. But to set up my walk down Memory Lane, I need to tell Granny's part of the story.
My parents were married in 1972. For several years they tried to have a baby, but due to unchangeable circumstances, they were unable to conceive. Granny and Grandpa knew this, and they mourned along with my parents. Grandpa was a country doctor, and as such, he had many friends in the medical field. In the summer of 1979, Grandpa took Granny with him to a party hosted by a fellow doctor. At that party, Granny met a prominent OBGYN, and God put it in her heart to ask him if he ever had babies available for adoption in his practice. He did. He had one young mother right then who had not yet decided on a family for her baby. Granny gave that doctor my parents' contact information. Knowing that my grandparents were well-respected, quality people, he recommended my parents to my birthmom. After reviewing several portfolios of potential adoptive parents, she chose my parents.
I think I have always been extra special to Granny because she feels responsible bringing me to our family. I have so many memories of time spent with her through my growing up years. Picnics in the patio under her kitchen window. Sleepovers in the back bedroom that had belonged to my mom. Malt-O Meal for breakfast at her house. (She always let me load it with sugar if I wanted to). Christmas Eve, rich with tradition, at Granny's house. Easter egg hunts in their beautiful yard. A 2 1/2 week cruise with Granny and Grandpa when I was 11. Feeding the stray cats that lived under Granny's deck. Grilled cheese sandwiches and split pea soup. Reading for hours together on the couch in the breakfast room. Eating all the carrots out of Granny's backyard garden. Memorizing Scripture together. Granny's presence at every musical, every awards ceremony, every sporting event. Her red plaid skirt and scarf on Christmas Day. Long walks in the Japanese garden next door to her house. Boxes of stale chocolate. Beautiful, homemade Christmas and birthday gifts. Homemade lingerie at my bridal shower (peach polyester with lime green lace, and a "made with love by Granny" tag sewn in the neck). I could go on, and on, and on.
But the sweetest of my memories are of Granny teaching me how to sew. Granny tends to be a hoarder, and she has never been even remotely organized. Her sewing room was so cluttered crowded that I could hardly walk in it. But out of that sewing room came wonderful creations. Every Christmas Granny made me a new nightgown. Snapper wore one of those nightgowns to bed last night, in fact. Several years she made my Christmas dress as well. When I was 9 I was into roller skating, and every time I had the opportunity, I visited the skate shop to drool over the beautiful skating dresses. Granny made me a skating skirt, royal blue, and way too long. She insisted on sewing bike shorts into the dress because she thought anything else was improper. And then she taught me to sew. My first project was a doll dress. If I close my eyes, I can go back to the sewing room. I am seated at Granny's Pfaff machine, looking out the warped window at the spectacular view of the Silicon Valley in California. Granny's home was on a hilltop in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. I can still hear the snip of scissors, the crinkle of the pattern, and her sweet voice issuing me instructions. I can see her capable hands demonstrating how to thread the machine, how to make a dart, how to turn a square corner. These times together were just for us. I don't know if she taught any of my cousins to sew or not, but she taught me. I have retained the skill and the memories that come along with it are crystal clear.
When I broke out my sewing machine to make Snapper's Halloween costume, I was immediately flooded with thoughts of Granny. She is turning 93 in just a few weeks, and she lives in a lovely retirement center in her hometown. She has grown frail, and is plagued by Parkinson's Disease. But her love for me is unchanged. Whenever we go to California, I spend a day with her. Her eyes are all for me, and even when she has nothing to say, she watches me, radiating love. She adores my children, and is especially thrilled that my son bears Grandpa's name. This month as I work on other sewing projects, I am thankful for my Granny, for her role in shaping me. Mostly though, I am thankful for her love.