I am packing our suitcase in preparation for our trip back home. As I do, my eyes flit across a framed photo collage of my husbands parents on their farm, which is sitting on a nightstand by the bed in the guest bedroom. One picture in the collage shows my husbands Mother sitting on an old tree stump. The stump is huge and she is lightly perched on the edge of it smiling at the amateur photographer. She is wearing a dark blue dress and a white, unbuttoned cardigan. Her hair matches the cardigan. In another photo she is standing behind her husband who is sitting on the seat part of his walker. He is wearing his old farm hat that looks a bit like a baseball hat, but it’s logo is advertising farm products. He is wearing a red plaid shirt and old railroad striped overalls. On a third photo Grandpa is sitting in a recliner, and Andrea, our daughter, is smiling and leaning in from behind. Grandma is perched on the side, also smiling. They always enjoyed having their pictures taken. The final picture is of our daughter standing in a field of very tall corn on her grandparents farm. She is almost swallowed up by the corn as she is peering out amidst the tall corn stalks. She is about 18 years old with long blonde curly hair. Based on the clothing, these pictures appear to all have been taken on the same day.
My mind drifts back to the days when we would bring our kids to visit their Grandparents on the farm. Our children dearly loved their Grandparents on both sides of their extended family and while both sets interacted with our children, they didn’t work hard to “entertain” them. The kids would go to their Grandparents homes to visit and they were brought into the fold of their Grandparents life and became a part of its fabric. If Grandpa was working in the garage, the kids would find a way to assist. If Grandma was cooking in the kitchen, the kids would sit at the table visiting with her, or they might go and play the old piano in the living room. The thing is, the children felt good just “being” there among their elder kinfolk. The kids would often go out and play while the Grandparents continued with what they were doing. Grandma may make a pan of yummy chocolate bars to feed them as a treat, or Grandpa might slice up a smoked summer sausage to share with the kids on home made white bread. The kids loved the farm food/comfort food, and to this day, these foods bring back wonderful memories for them.
I muse about this as I continue to pack my bag. For various reasons our life delivered us to Texas, which is a long, long way from our Grandchildren. Of course, we moved to Texas,long before they were born, so we didn’t really move away from them. Our oldest son opted to stay in Minnesota at the time because he was already in the teaching profession. His wife and children came into his life later. Our visits are not spontaneous because of the distance. They are planned in advance and usually around special occasions. Our Grandchildren are gluten and dairy free….so no old family recipes can be made and handed down by Grandpa and Grandma.
Every generation makes its own way and its own memories. I wonder how our Grandchildren will remember us?
Well, my bag is packed and it’s time to go play cards with our Granddaughter. This card game is one tradition we are passing down from my parents who brought the game of Peruvian Rummy from Peru. They learned it while living there and introduced it to our family. We love the game, our children love the game, and now our granddaughters love the game as well! Maybe this is one memory that will pop up someday way down the road of their life. Perhaps it is this memory that will stay in their heart forever.
Family..we come in all sizes and shapes, all kinds of personalities, and all types of traditions. All that matters is the enduring memories we leave behind in the hearts of those who love us.