My family had a family of best friends. The mom was my mom's best friend. The dad my dad's. And the daughter was my sister's best friend. We did everything together basically my whole life. We met them when I was four. Our moms were co-leaders of our girl scout troups. We camped every easter, memorial day, and labor day together. We had a standing Saturday night BBQ/pool party at our house through the summer. We had a standing Saturday night fire - either an outside bon fire or inside by the fire place - at their house through the winter. We went on several Thanksgiving cruises together. We did everything together basically my whole life. Their grandparents were considered my grandparents and mine theirs. One grandma, Nanny we called her, died yesterday.
What do I remember about Nanny? She was 80 years old, so when I met her, she must have been in her 50s, but she's always seemed much older. Being a poor working class southern woman takes it's toll on you. She and Poppa lived in a double-wide trailer, but it was the most impecably decorated house I'd been to as a child, so I thought they were wealthy. Nanny never worked and didn't know how to drive. She loved to cook, and was good at making southern standards. She was the kind of cook that liked to be told that she was a good cook, so she was always fishing for complements. "How do you like my biscuits, how do you like my cookies? I see your taking another cookie, they must be very good, huh?" She made her own BBQ sauce, but I didn't like it. My parents stressed to me many times the importance of telling her that I loved her BBQ sauce. She was the kind of grandma that always tells you that you've gained weight, no matter if you've lost it or gained it. She loved to complain about her illnesses. If you said how are you, she would say, "well, you know I'm old. my body has lots of aches and pains. I can't get around like I used to." We would all joke about this when she wasn't around. Everytime I saw her, basically for the past 20 years, she would grab my hand, look me in the eye, and say, "you know, I love you as much as I love my own grandchildren. I've always considered you and your sister my own grandchildren."
The last time I saw her was in August. I forgot to take a picture and have regretted it ever since. I didn't go to see her at Christmas even though she called and asked me to. I want to go to the funeral but don't know if I can. Neither K nor I can take off of work for this, and we just got back from 3 weeks in Australia, so we don't have a big bank of leave stored up. I haven't even heard yet when the funeral is so it's hard to make plans.
It makes me sad that she will never meet our children. She loved babies. We will add this to the list of people who we love who won't meet our children - my Papa, my Grandma, my Grandpa, K's Grandma. This is life - most children don't get to meet their great-grandparents. But it still makes me sad.