When I was two, you sang me to sleep every night-You Are My Sunshine and I Love You A Bushel and a Peck. You patiently held my hand while I explored the world, and guided my every step toward the path of graceful womanhood.
When I was three you taught me to read, and instilled in me a love of learning. You let me sit in your warm lap for hours with Norma Jean the Jumping Bean and bragged loudly to anyone who would stand still about what a prodigy I was.
When I was four you gave me the gift of music. You sat me down at your beautifully polished piano and inspired me to play whatever was in my heart, showing me how to express myself through beautiful things.
When I was five you taught me to cook. You stood me up on chairs and put me in your lacy aprons and let me do all of the important stirring and tasting. You taught me what patience and careful measurement can create.
When I was six you taught me to laugh, and to find joy in little things. You let me do your hair and make up and proudly displayed your make overs to everyone. You gave me care packages of nuts and spice drops and M&Ms inside coffee filters with twisted tops and I ate them slowly and carefully one tiny piece at a time so that I would feel close to you as long as I could.
When I was seven, you went home to be with God-I am still jealous that He gets to have you so near to Him. For a long, long time I didn't know how to live without you-how do you live without your heart? I looked for reminders of you everywhere, grasping for something that I could hold onto so that I could pretend you were with me again, yet I should have known that nothing could replace you, or make the giant rip in my heart go away. To this day I can feel it aching when I think of you.
I do think of you. All the time. I think about when we used to watch Jeopardy together, and when we used to go to the Library and then stop by Tastee Freeze on the way home. I think about when you would drive through the KFC drive thru backwards, just so that I could order my food myself. I remember staying up late with you in my pajamas, reading stories and eating sugary treats and watching Country Music Television-Girl Parties we called them. I even remember making signs that said "No boys allowed, not even dad, except Captain the dog and Grandpa".
When life is at it's darkest, I try to remember little things about you to comfort me-I remember your hands, your eyes, your fancy gold watch, your yellow cook book, and your multicolored porcelain cooking bowls. When I need guidance I try to think about what you would do in my shoes-I want to be graceful, and kind, and generous, and strong just like you. Still, I think it is when I am feeling especially blessed that I miss you the most.
I hope that you can see me from heaven, and that you are proud of me. I know you'd love my little family. My husband is a good, strong man. He is gentle and and honorable and hardworking and loves me very much-and I love him back with all my heart. Our oldest is so much like me, only even more creative than I ever was. His imagination has no limits-I can just picture you having a ball together. And our girls are so precious, I know that you would fall instantly in love with them.
I really hope that you know that we named our first born daughter after you. She turned two yesterday and I couldn't stop thinking about how much she even looks just like a tiny blond version of you. I wish you were here to have tea parties with my girls. To let them eat as many cookies as they want and jump on the bed all night and teach them to sing and laugh and cook and crochet and how to grow up to be strong, honest, graceful women like you. Even though I think I am a poor imitation, I promise I'll do my best to honor the way you raised me in the time we had together and to be the best possible mom I can be to your great grandchildren-I promise to do everything I can to pass the spirit of your heart on in hopes that they will be as blessed by you as I was, even though they never had the chance to meet you.
I'm glad I met you and had the chance to be loved by you, even if it was for far too short of a time for my liking. I miss you a lot Nana, and I love you.
A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.
[Inspired by a writing prompt from Mama Kat]