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Gramma's House

Woman Preparing a Meal by Vincent van Gogh, 1885

This morning I tackled my wildly overgrown backyard garden. The garden is such a hodge podge of flowering plants. There is no master plan. I see something at the nursery or in a garden catalog that I just have to have and I make room for it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. And while I have cured myself of my packrat tendencies in many areas of my life, the garden is not one of them. I need to thin out some of the plants but just hate throwing away perfectly good plants so I am always looking for a new home for the extras.

Today was more weeding than tending to established plants. There is something therapeutic about ripping weeds out of the ground by their roots. I had thought about taking my phone outside with me to listen to an audio book as I worked, but I decided I needed the silence. Nothing but the natural outdoor noises and my thoughts filled my head.

After so many years as a nomadic Air Force wife I find myself just now realizing I am settled. We have now lived in this current house longer than I have ever lived in any other house in my entire life. It is not a temporary lodging in a long line of other temporary lodgings. It is my home. Anyone who gets to know my home also gets to know me. I love watching the HGTV programs about renovating and decorating houses. I look around my own home and I am sure an interior designer would click her tongue at how many of the cardinal rules of decorating I have broken. I have too many photos and too many knick-knacks. There are little shrines everywhere as the saints accomany me from room to room. This house will never grace the pages of Southern Living but that is ok. I hope it will grace the memories of children and grandchildren.

Of course, my children have varying attachments to this house. The oldest never really lived here. He just visited during college breaks. The Army now has him and his family completely on the other side of the continent so spending time in my home is impractical as well as near impossible. And besides, there is nothing about this particular house that draws him so he is just as happy to have us visit him as to share this house with his children.

I find myself feeling a little sad about that. This is not his childhood home but it is now my home. I want it to be Gramma and Granddad's house where so many happy memories are made. I still have the blocks and the wooden toy trains and the kitchen playset waiting to be enjoyed by grandchildren. Every time I bake cookies or make applesauce or can jams I imagine what it would be like to have grandchildren helping me in the kitchen. As I watch my garden bloom I think about sharing the love of gardening with the next generation and having them by my side as I plant and weed.

There is certainly no reason to think this will never happen. But I also know I can't just wait around for the tableau I created in my mind to materialize. I do what I can to build a relationship with my grandchildren across the miles. I visit when I can. I video chat with them. I write them letters. I pray for them. Parenthood and family life took a much different course than I envisioned when I started the journey. There is no reason to expect grandparenthood to be any different. I will always do my best to be a good Gramma even if that means being Gramma somewhere other than Gramma's house.

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