Embedded in my DNA…and in my Heart

Yesterday I lost someone dear. Some knew her as Ann, others as Mrs. Parker…I knew her as Grammy. She was a wonderful Grammy. She taught me how to laugh big and how to make others laugh, too! I still remember the year she came down the hall, on Christmas morning, with a big Rudolph nose, reindeer ears, a Christmas shirt and the biggest of grins. All just to make us laugh…and laugh we did! 🙂

She was spunky, and I liked that…a lot. Of course, her spunk was accompanied by her bluntness. One time, I got my hair cut short and she (clearly) didn’t like it. The first thing she said to me (after months of not seeing each other) was, “Oh Kristin, what did you do that for?!” So, you can imagine my nervousness when I called to tell her I was pregnant with baby number 5 (I had them all close together) and her response did not disappoint: “Oh Kristin, another one?!” I gave her some spunk back, which gave way to teasing and laughter. And if you knew her at all, she absolutely adored every single one of her great-grandchildren and spoiled them whenever she could. 

The sacrifices she and my grandpa made to come visit and see us may have gone unnoticed when I was young…but they have blessed my heart over and over as the years have gone by. Christmas flights from Boston to California (she hated to fly)…even coming one year with a broken arm.  And she always came with a small gift or two tucked away in her suitcase. I couldn’t wait for her to unpack. 😉 They stayed in my room. I got the couch, and my memories of sleeping next to the Christmas tree are only eclipsed by the fun of having them with us. 

We played more games than I can even begin to count. And my own kids got to make those same memories with Grammy and Grandpa. There was MUCH laughter around the kitchen table and they were the best of sports! 

When I think of my dear Grammy….memories flood my mind: 

-Playing beauty parlor ( I got quite good at “setting her hair”)

-Endless Nip candies in her purse, waiting to be unwrapped, especially in church (boy, those wrappers made a lot of noise!)

-Perfume: I always knew where my Grammy was…and loved how she smelled! 

-Up and Down (or Hearts or Hand and Foot or Push!)

-Chocolate chip cookies (she would NOT give out the recipe…she said they were her secret. Several years ago, I found out why. It was a Betty Crocker bagged mix with an extra scoop of chips! 😉 I still can’t get them to taste as good as she made them!)

-All things Scottish tartan (plaid) and Scotty dogs

-A trip to Scotland: I still can’t believe they took me!

-Learning how to make Scottish shortbread…the secret is using your hands! 

-Speaking of hands: French manicured gel nails. My Grammy loved them and beautiful nails were always a must in her book!

-Grammy smoking and then quitting. I know it wasn’t easy…but it was an example to us all. 

-Baseball games: How I loved watching games with my grandparents. Grammy loved her Red Sox and knew the game…and she wasn’t afraid to yell at the TV and say so! 🙂 I was with them a couple of years ago when the Red Sox won the World Series. It was truly the “cherry on top” as far as baseball memories go. 

-Clothes, clothes, clothes: Shopping with Grammy always yielded fun…for me and for her, much to my Grandpa’s chagrin. 😉 Several years ago, after her first stroke, she wasn’t moving around so great…Mom, Kimberly and I took her shopping and had her sit on the seat of her walker while we “pushed” her through the store. Some might have been embarrassed…she just laughed and giggled. 

-A wig: Grammy went through a wig “stage”, though she didn’t need one. Anyway, they were out visiting us in California when our kids were young and we were rear- ended while driving in our little town. Grammy’s wig flew off her head and our son, Micah, (who was four at the time) was horrified and kept yelling out, “Grammy lost her head! Grammy lost her head!” 🙂 Praise the Lord, we were all okay…and we LAUGHED at that for days to come! 

-Holidays and just about every special family moment:  My grandparents did everything they could to be there for those special moments…for us. Plane trips, long rides in cars, early mornings, late nights…they were going to do what it took to be there. Their sacrifice and faithfulness to family has blessed us all over and over again! 

My Grammy is a gift from the Lord. She taught me many things, she showed me many things, and she included me in many things. Though she may have thought (and wasn’t afraid to voice) that I was a bit crazy for getting married so young, having so many babies and keeping busy like it was a hobby…she loved my husband deeply, she rejoiced with the birth of each baby…loving them so generously and fully…and she cheered me on, always wanting to know the details of our full life, though it was never without a, “Oh Kristin, you need to slow down”. 

Grammy was placed on hospice a couple of weeks ago, but we all thought she’d hang in there a while. We were wrong. But the knowing or not knowing really doesn’t change the pain. The heart grieves because it has loved deeply. I’ve never known life without her…and I’ll never forget her. She’s not just embedded in my DNA, she’s embedded in my heart.

12 thoughts on “Embedded in my DNA…and in my Heart

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  1. Oh I so loved reading your beautiful, precious tribute to your Grammy. I so remember her loving to play games, and your kids telling stories of some of those games …. “they’re mi-un “ as only she could say it. And then when I got to the story of her wig flying through the car, I had to laugh right out loud. I remember you telling us that story, and I laughed just as hard now, as I did when you first told us 😂. I was not around her very much, but when I was, she always was able to make me laugh … she had that “gift”❣️ Love, hugs and prayer to you and all your family.

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  2. Kristen that was a beautiful story about your Grammy. I work for your Uncle Jim and had the pleasure of meeting both your grandparents. They were truly wonderful people and will be missed.

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  3. I teared up at the couch and the Christmas tree and laughed at the wig story. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of who she was. ❤

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  4. What a beautiful tribute ❤️ I met your grandparents years ago when my sister dated Steve. We had so much fun with them in Maine. They came to my house all the time to watch the Red Sox, play games and have cocktails. She was so proud of all of you and showed us pictures and told lots of stories, and what a laugh. She will be missed by many 😞
    Judy Breitmaier

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