Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Tribute to my Granny

I have only one living grandparent left, my mom's mom "Granny," half-way across the country in western Massachusetts. Growing up in a farming family with three other siblings it was never easy for my parents to travel that distance for a visit. Between her flights out to Nebraska and our driving back to Massachusetts we may have (at the most) averaged a visit a year, however, it was probably less than that. In spite of the infrequency of getting to see her face to face, many of my fondest memories of Christmas involve her. Each year in early December a big brown package would arrive via the UPS man at our home. Visits from the UPS were rare and always exciting. We knew it was the long-awaited package from Granny. This box was always full of goodies. We would excitedly pull out the loaves of stollen she had baked for us, Mom would whisk away the presents to be opened at a later date, and my favorite part--the yearly handmade ornament would be discovered.
Each year it was always something different and always in a variety of craft forms--sometimes cross-stitched or something done on plastic canvas, an angel made out of a variety of pasta noodles, or something ceramic, there was always something new, and always one done for each of us. The majority of our Christmas tree was handmade ornaments, added to yearly by Granny. It wasn't just ornaments she made either--each of us had an original stocking made by her hands. My sister and I had similar ones done in needlepoint, mine was red with a little girl on it, hers light blue and proclaiming "Noel." My brother Jared had a simpler stocking because that was the year Grandpa got sick and she didn't have the time for fancy work. And my youngest brother Lukas had a dazzling one with a snowman and lots of sequins that we all admired. These all hung in a row, pinned into the woodwork between the living room and dining room.
When I got married my mom let me pick a few of my favorite ornaments for my tree. These are the ornaments that yearly tug at my heart. They link me back to childhood and back to her. They inspire me to create special memories for my own children. When I think of her I always recall busy hands. She never visited without some project she was working on. Cross-stitching, knitting, crocheting, plastic canvas--she was always working on something. And I was always at her side watching. And I get it. I think of the verse from Proverbs 31 " . . .She works with her hands in delight . . ." I have been blessed many times by the work of her hands--a beautiful cross-stitched picture for my wedding, a crocheted blanket when my first baby was born, and so many, many other items, too numerous to list. I understand her need to be making and creating. I understand the joy in finishing something for someone else. I understand how "right" it feels to have something forming in your hands. It is truly a delight. I am so thankful for her and the example she has been to me. I am thankful for the creative legacy she has left me, a legacy I hope to pass on to my own girls. So, Granny, if you get a chance to read this, thank you for the special memories, they are treasured in my heart always. Merry Christmas.


Tiffany said...

I love how Christmas brings the smells, sights and memories of people and years past. Your blog reminds me of some of those special times and items that make Christmas so very special to me! Thanks, Janna.

Mom said...

This is from Granny, written by your Mom as I have her here by my side:
Janna, that meant a lot to me and that you thought so much of me to write about me. I will cherish this so much. I'll get it printed off so I can read it often...and cry. All my love, Granny