[I've had this post slogging around in my head for a while now. I wasn't sure whether I should post this or not, but... here goes:]
I hated my grandma. There, I've said it. And I have a hunch the feeling was mutual. My first vivid memory of her was when she slapped me in the face. Mom had left me with her while she went somewhere. I suppose I was pitching a fit - I was only about 4 or 5 years old. She just turned around and slapped me right in the mouth. I never trusted her after that.
As I grew older I discovered she was a bitter, hateful old woman. I have to assume she wasn't always this way. I'm sure as a young woman she was full of hopes and dreams. I know that Grandpa Moss left her for another woman. Perhaps she drove him away, I wouldn't know because he died before I was born. Maybe that's why she was the way she was.
As a grandma today, I find the whole thing very sad and confusing. Grand kids are the reason you don't kill your own kids while growing up. What was even worse, she was the only grandparent I had as my father's parents died right after I was born. I used to envy my playmates and their excitement when visiting their grandparents. I couldn't understand why grandma was never happy to see me and had only harsh words for me. I still can't to this day.
It broke my mother's heart when I expressed my feelings towards her mother. She tried to assure me that Grandma Moss truly did love me, but just didn't show it. She would tell me the story of how, in 1952 when I contracted polio, it was Grandma Moss who drove the car to the hospital in Sioux City when the local hospital couldn't treat me. Of how I almost died in my mother's arms in the backseat of grandma's '52 Ford while grandma careened up Highway 75 in a desperate attempt to get me to help. Today I find the picture of this rather amusing. I remember grandma driving that Ford. 50 mph was her normal speed and she was so short she could barely see over the massive steering wheel. I'm surprised she didn't totally wreck.
Brother Max used to tell an amusing story about grandma, too. When Iowa passed the minimum wage law, it was his responsibility to tell grandma she must pay her help $1.25 an hour. He said she banged her hand on the table and declared, "There ain't a woman in the world worth $1.00 an hour!" That's my grandma - always generous to a fault.
Grandma Moss' sister Della was my "true" grandma and I called her that from the start. I dearly loved that woman. Her husband died, leaving her to raise her five children alone on a dirt farm in the hills. She survived by selling milk and eggs and renting the 40 acres she owned out to a local farmer. She had more than enough love to share with me and I took full advantage of it. Grandma's farm was my haven and her smile lit up my life. I guess I really did have a grandma after all.
Quinten is a lucky boy - he has many sets of grandparents who all love him. That's a nice thing about blended families. He's staying with us this June and our lives are once again full of activity. T-ball, swimming, golf, carnivals and celebrations abound, making the days fly by.
Grandma Moss certainly taught me one thing - how NOT to be a grandma. I'm loving this part of my life. Quinten has taught me that there is nothing else in this world more important than spending time with him. And I'm taking full advantage of that.