Friday, April 6, 2012

Saint Norma Jean

My grandma.  I don't even know if there are words to describe this woman.  Everyone should have one just like her....but she's mine.  I just got home from her house.  It's like a time warp there.  Once you enter you lose total concept of time.  I think it's my favorite place in the whole wide world.  This joint's a high traffic zone.  It's just kind of normal that when I go in I sweep the kitchen floor (hey, I like to sweep).  She always says "Nikki just sit down".  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  She always feels the need to repay me in some way.  You've got to be kidding me.  Repay?  Norms off her rocker.  Lets rewind a bit (I love to rewind) and see if any repaying is necessary.  When I say she's a saint I'm not shit....this woman's near perfect.  She's the mother of 5, grandmother of 19, great-grandmother of 22-1/2 (Sweet Baby Lucas will be making his debut within the next 2 weeks).  She was a stay at home mom.  After her kids were grown (except for two very fun aunts still at home....cue the fighting over me aunties) she was offered a job at Prince Gardner Leather Company.  Now about this time, circa 1977, I was preparing to make my debut.  My grandpa told her "you  can either stay home with the baby or go to work and let some stranger watch her".  Um, yeah...she stayed home.  And thank God!  That's when we fell in love.  I've never had a babysitter, not even once.  I had grandma.  We spent everyday together.  The earliest memory of my entire life I have is laying in bed with her watching The Lone Ranger.  My mom says she'd drop me off around 6:30 in the morning.  I was there all day and never wanted to go home.  We watched Sesame Street, The Letter People, The Electric Company and Mr. Rogers (my all time favorite) all day.  We went to Dierbergs to drop off our glass pepsi bottles and always went to Venture.  One day when I was 3 we went to Venture.  I asked her for a doll I'd found in the toy aisle.  She'll tell you it was the best $2.87 she's ever spent.  (I'm about to reveal some personal/embarrassing information....for real).  I named the doll Holly.  She went every where with me.  I cut her hair off, left her in the sun until her face became cracked.  It's bad.  I'm 34 years old and that doll is still tucked under my pillow.  I can count on my hands how many nights in the past 31 years that the doll hasn't been under my pillow. name's Nichole and I still have my dolly.  (go ahead and call my strange obsession or something).  She's old and worn, some people even say scary, but we have a history together.  Ok....lets move on.  Grandma and me : ) We played outside, inside....where ever.  It was a blast. We even had our own special breakfast/lunch menu.  (prepare...this is an odd one).  Bologna sandwiches with dill pickles (the big kosher ones) and we dunked it in coffee loaded with milk and sugar.  Holy mother of God it sounds disgusting, but at the time it was delicious.  A lot of days I flat out refused to go home when my mother came for me.  Grandma never made me leave.  She just told my mom to go home. (by the way, home was a whole 30 seconds away).  The fun just continued.  We would have to get dinner ready for my grandpa.  I should mention that this woman is an amazing cook.  Every night we'd have to get grandpas lunch ready for work the next day.  I think we always made him a salad.  God love her for letting me be pinned to her side.  After the day was done it was time to settle down into the living room.  I mean come on...we had episodes of Dallas, As the World Turns and Guiding Light to catch up on.  At this time I only had to share the spotlight with my cousin Donny, but soon I was joined by a whole clan.  This is when the place turned into our own version of Disney World.  Endless fun, endless.  Weeble People galore, the rock garden, the vegetable garden, the pool, the apple tree, the back yard which seemed to be gigantic (and it really is).  The best part of the yard was playing croquet.  I don't think we ever knew what we were doing, but those balls were weapons.  I don't know how we avoided getting injured.  And then there were the slumber parties.  Hells yeah!  Best.Times.Ever.  The entire living room was converted into a mass of tents.  They even had cable!  Cue the intro for "HBO's feature presentation" and bring in the vanilla ice cream with Hershey's syrup in the aluminum can with the yellow lid.  A-freaking-mazing.  All while this saint of a lady waited on us hand and foot, laughed with us and loved us.  Not just regular love, grandmas love.  I love and admire this woman to no end.  There are no words to describe my love for her, it's simply a feeling.  She's not replaceable.  She's established such an intimate relationship with everyone of us, established a trust like we have with no other.  Not once in my life have I ever told this woman a lie.  She sees straight through me.  The very thought of one day having to be alive without her around wells my eyes up with tears and my heart hurts.  Twice in the past 10 years she's developed a life threatening illness (which she bounces back from beautifully).  Those times were horrible.  I remember having a conversation with the higher being and informing him that he had no right to take her away.  I was extremely pissed and I think he knew it.  My cousin Donny and I sat at the hospital that night until she was out of surgery and into recovery.  Neither of us were going any where until we saw for ourselves that she was ok.  We went in and kissed her good night and she opened her eyes long enough to whisper that she was ok and she loved us.  Yeah she loves us, but I hope she knows how much we love her.  Irreplaceable, one of a kind, and never taken for granted. 

Grandma....I love you more than you'll ever know.  You are the kindest, sweetest soul ever put on the earth.  I'm a lucky girl to have you.  I love that I always hear your voice in my head guiding me in life decisions.  I love your beautiful face and the way you giggle when I sneak up on you and scratch your back.  I love our Sundays together.  I love when you tell stories and I love when you tell me that when I was small I made you realize what unconditional love is....because I loved you no matter what.  The last part of that sentence couldn't be anymore true.....xoxo

Donny-Jo, Laurie, Danny, Rachael, Jacob, Josh, Rich, Chrissy, Nikki, Billy, Shane, Jessica, Karri, Michael, Angie, Jay,Joey, Elizabeth and Michelle, Ryan, Ashton, Addison, Naveya, Daxton, Eliza, Miranda, Jessica, Brooke, Cody, Lauren, Ava, Justina, Landon, Braydon, Lilly, Lana, Kristina, Caytlin, Alexis, Jay, Riley and Lucas

Equal the luckiest kids ever.