My Grandma Benac loves to tell me the story of how after I was born she came to my parents' San Diego apartment to help. She says she held me in the night trying to compose a poem about how I (her first grandchild) was an extension of her and my Grandpa's love. She says I could recognize the sound of her footsteps and would quiet when I heard her coming.
All my life, Grandma's love for me has been a constant buoy, and it hasn't been hard to love my devoted, spunky granny in return.
|Grandma and newborn me.|
|Grandma was famous for her doll cakes. This one was for my first birthday.|
Grandma was an energetic, enthusiastic, busy person who never hesitated to let you know what she thought. She may have been a suburban housewife in the 1950s, but that never stopped her from telling it like it is, sometimes in colorful terms. Also, you were her best friend. Whether you were in line at the store or sitting next to her on a plane, it took her only moments to find a point of connection.
|Look at that figure! We Benac girls come by our hips honestly.|
|Snuggle buddies when I was two or so.|
When I was in college--in the days before cell phones--Grandma would supply me with phone cards or set up her own 1-800 number. I was expected to call frequently. Any time she called me was an indictment of my laxity. She visited me at several crazy student apartments and made it clear that just because I was away from home, I certainly was not beyond her purview.
She had expectations for righteous living. It was clear that any poor choice of mine would be a disappointment to her, and I'm grateful for constant, gentle prodding to keep me on the strait and narrow. At the same time, her love was unquestionable. To this day, when things look bleak and hopeless, I hear in my mind, "At least Grandma loves me!"
|In 2003, just weeks before my Grandpa died.|
Here's some of my Grandma's sage advice:*
"If you're intimidated by someone, just picture them with their pants down and sitting on the toilet." I think I found this one more disturbing than helpful. But she always delivered this advice so earnestly!
|Full circle: Grandma watching Roscoe eat his first-birthday cake.|
|This last May. Haley and I flew to Dallas for a weekend just with Grandma.|
*Sibs and cousins: I'd love to hear your favorite Grandma-isms.