Mom, Did You Know…?

Did you know I’m a grandmother now? Our precious Ashley and her wonderful husband Chris initiated us into that club Monday morning. They presented us with the most beautiful baby girl we’ve ever seen.

One of my friends, and yours, told me, “Now you know how your mother felt when you had Ashley!” I hadn’t thought about that. But she’s so right. I guess I never really understood.

Until now. Until I saw her little face; looked into her beautiful blue eyes; and held her in my arms. At that moment I saw pure love. And I saw your eyes in hers, just like you probably saw your own mother’s eyes in Ashley’s when you first held her.

Mom, I really, really wish you could be here. Even for just a couple of minutes. I wish you could see your great-granddaughter. I wish you could hold her in your arms. Because I know how much you loved your granddaughter, and I know how very much you would love your new great-granddaughter.

There have been so many times I’ve started to pick up my phone and call you, just to tell you what little Rachel is doing. How cute and adorable she is. How much Ashley loves her new baby daughter, and what a wonderful mom she is already. How it’s already second nature for her to take care of her. She’s enjoying every minute. The love on her face when she holds her and snuggles with her…I just want to cry.

I wish you could be here to see Chris, Ashley’s husband, and how wonderful and loving a dad he already is. He’s changing diapers; he’s feeding her; holding her; loving her and just talking to her all the time. I know how happy you’d be. Because I am, too.

And then there’s the new grandpa. I’m sure you remember how excited Ben was when we had Ashley. How much he loved her, and how he would do anything he possibly could for her. Well he’s already the same way with little Rachel, and she’s only three days old. The look of love on his face when he holds her is beyond anything I could imagine. She has him wrapped around all of her fingers…and toes!

The only thing missing is you.

I wish you were here so I could share my thoughts and feelings with you, and ask questions. Because I don’t know how to be a grandmother, but I guess it’s something that comes naturally. I know how nervous I was as a new mother, and how you told me I’d be a great mother. That I’d learn very quickly what to do. And you were there to help me that first week every step of the way. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. You were such a natural at being a grandmother, like you’d been preparing for it all your life. And I guess in a way, you had been.

And now I’m getting ready to do the same thing with my daughter. And Mom, I’m not really sure I know what to do, but I’m going to remember what you did.
Because you were the best mother in the world to me, and the best grandmother to Ashley that she could ever have had. I only hope I can be half that good.

And now that I’m a grandmother, that makes you a great-grandmother.

And you are just that. A wonderful, as well as a great, grandmother. And I still miss you every day. But I believe in my heart, and in my spirit, that you know what’s going on. I believe you and my father both have been given the gift of being able to see a little of what’s going on in our lives during this wonderful, precious time. And I can feel you both smiling down on us all, happy as you can be, on our new family.

But I still miss you. And I always will. Thank you for all you did for me, and for Ashley. And thank you for letting us give your name to our new granddaughter.

I love you, Mom. And we’ll all continue to make you proud of us.

Such A Beautiful Baby

I had the most wonderful dream the other night.

There’s a song that says “…a dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep.” I believe that’s true in a lot of ways.

For those of you who’ve read some of my other stories, as well as those of you who know me quite well, you already know how much I enjoy piecing together the meaning of dreams. To me, dreams are often a beautiful tapestry that weaves itself together in front of my eyes as I’m resting.

Sometimes those dreams have a deeply hidden meaning that I enjoy dissecting, bit by bit, until I uncover that meaning.
Then there are the dreams like I had the other night. Just a peaceful, beautiful scenario that foretells a special event coming up in our lives.

And what are the chances that our daughter would have a very similar dream that same night, and in fact, had been having those similar dreams the entire week and had never told me?

Our daughter and her husband are expecting their first baby, our first grandbaby, in less than two months. To say we’re all excited is an understatement. And to have been blessed with the dream I had the other night is something I find difficult to put into words.

But of course, I’m going to try.

Imagine being a first time grandmother to be, who is getting more excited by the day at the prospect of soon being able to hold her first granddaughter. A granddaughter who is being named after my own mother, my daughter’s beloved grandmother.

In my dream I was actually holding our precious little Rachel Marie. She was in my arms. I could look into her face, see her beautiful big blue eyes, and her head full of light brown hair. I couldn’t help but just stare at her in amazement, as I held her, and cuddled her. And watched her smile up at me with the biggest grin I could imagine. My granddaughter. I can even describe the outfit she was wearing, although I haven’t seen it yet in any of the baby stores. It was yellow and coral, with little yellow ruffles on the bottom.

This little girl of my dreams was our precious gift. A special delivery directly from the Lord. I remember looking at her and thinking how my own mother actually met her before we did. Because I know my Mom had been caring for her little namesake in heaven until it was time for our new little Rachel to be born and come live with us. I imagined my mother kissing her little forehead, and handing her over to a special angel who would take her down to earth to her new earthly family. And I imagined my heavenly family smiling and rejoicing, knowing what a special, beautiful gift we were getting.

My dream faded softly as I woke up, and for a few minutes, I actually found myself looking around to see where baby Rachel was. And then I remembered. She hasn’t been born yet, except in my dreams.

Now imagine my surprise when our daughter Ashley texted me a little later and said she’d been dreaming all week that Rachel was already here. Only she hadn’t seen her yet in her dreams; in her dreams Rachel was sleeping in her nursey and Ashley was walking down the hall to get her. So Grandmom got to see her first. Yes, I think my daughter was a tiny bit jealous of that one.

Little Rachel will be here before we know it, although right now it seems like it’s taking forever. And I can’t wait to see how much she actually looks like she did in my dream.

And I know she is beautiful. Like her mother.

Sometimes the Littlest Things…

…make you stop in your tracks. Tell your eyes not to cry. Tell your lips not to quiver like they do when a good cry is coming in. Tell your voice not to shake because you know you won’t be able to talk normally for a little while.

That just happened to me. Sitting at my hairstylist’s while my color soaked in. As I looked up and saw a lady come in who could have been my mother’s twin. Her height, her face, her hairstyle, her clothes, the way she walked. I tried not to stare…to quickly look away, because I knew I couldn’t watch this lady without that longing in my heart jumping into my throat.

It still happens. After almost ten years. And it probably will happen again.

Shortly after my mom passed away, my daughter Ashley and I were shopping in one of the department stores where we used to take my mother all the time. My mom had had a shopping routine, and when she’d get tired she’d sit down in the shoe department and wait for us. She’d hold our bags and quietly watch the shoppers go by. Usually someone she knew came over and talked to her for a while; that’s one of the beautiful things about living in a small town.

That particular day Ashley and I both saw the woman at the same time. She looked so much like my mother…sitting in that shoe department with a bunch of shopping bags, just quietly waiting. How I wanted so badly to rush over to her and hug her, because she so reminded me of my own mother. That’s when we saw the woman’s grown daughter, and obviously the woman’s granddaughter, coming over to meet her. The little girl’s face lit up as she ran to her grandmother to show her what she’d bought. And the smile on her grandmother’s face was priceless, and she wanted to know all about everything that little girl had found.

The look on my own face as I watched them was most likely a mixture of sadness, envy, and nostalgia for what we’d lost. And probably hadn’t fully appreciated until this moment, when we realized such moments wouldn’t ever happen to us again. And Ashley…she turned away and quickly walked off, knowing she was ready to cry.

We never seem to truly appreciate what we have until it’s gone. Forever gone. As much as I loved my mother, enjoyed being with her and doing things with her, I still regret all the times I missed out on. And didn’t even know it at the time.

When I left my hair appointment that same lady was standing outside the salon with her hair stylist, waiting for her ride. I stopped to speak to her, and with an almost cracking voice, told her how very much she looked like my mom who’d left us ten years ago. Her China blue eyes (like my mom’s) looked at me, thanked me for the compliment, and very unlike my mother, proudly told me she was going to be 102 this year!! And that she hoped to see me there again, because she had her hair done every week! Just like my mother used to.

I’m going to be sure to make my next hair appointment for a Saturday at the same time I had today. Just so I can see this lady again. This time I’ll ask her name. She deserves to be more than a nameless memory.

March 5, 2016

Grandmother’s Pumpkin Pie

I come from a family of good cooks. My grandparents owned a farm, and my grandmother Lang was always cooking up big farm meals for Granddaddy’s “hired help” as well as the rest of the family. And she was a great cook! (And for those of you who know me well, you know that cooking is not my favorite pastime. Although I do like to bake!)

I still have some of her recipes that were handed down to my mother, but unfortunately only a few are in her own handwriting. Of course, after trying to read some of them, I’m actually glad my mother copied them over! Grandmom’s handwriting was a very flowery style, so instead of trying to read them, I’ll keep them in my special scrapbook of memories.

It was always a treat to go to my grandparents’ home for family dinners and holidays. The food set out on her heavy carved oak dining table was a feast fit for a family of fifteen, because that’s about how many of us were there back in those days. Sure, us kids sometimes had to eat out in the kitchen because there wasn’t enough room at the table, but there was always plenty of food for everyone!

At this time of year it’s certainly appropriate to talk about her Thanksgiving dinners. Although I don’t remember quite as many of them being held at the farm, since my mother’s dining room was bigger, my grandmother always supplied the pumpkin pie! And it was delicious! Every bit homemade, from the piecrust to the filling! She usually made at least two, because everyone wanted some of it. So I thought I’d share a bit of Emma Jarman Lang’s special pumpkin pie by posting the recipe for you.
Grandmothers Pumpkin Pie

2 cups pumpkin (yes, she actually used canned pumpkin)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Mix all ingredients together, and add gradually:
2 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 c milk
pinch of lemon juice (no more than 1/2 tsp)
**I add 1/4 tsp of almond extract as well (I had to contribute something!)

Mix well and pour into unbaked pie crust. (I don’t have her original pie crust recipe, but pre-made ones are fine!) I like using a deep dish 9-10″ crust, because you usually have some filling left over, which of course is always yummy to bake in a little casserole dish to enjoy before the main meal!

Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, and then turn down the oven to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes. Cool on a wire baking rack.

And of course serve it with whipped cream! Real whipped cream if you have time to make it!

What special recipes do you have from your parents and grandparents? Feel free to share them with us! And from time to time, I’ll publish more recipes for our special family treats.