Follow by Email

Showing posts with label Granmary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Granmary. Show all posts

Sunday, October 8, 2017


At the beginning of each day, and before the close of the day (plus some in betweens), I pray for our sons and their families. As I consider each grandchild by name, I realize the amazing gift I have been given in being called Granmary. I could not possibly capture enough photos to portray the images of relationship and connectedness, the giving and giving back. I have a deep sense of those who have gone before me, and held my hand, the hand that now holds the hands of these 6, smiling as I think of their hands holding their own children and grandchildren. I am grateful beyond words.
To have grandchildren is not only to be given something but to be given something back.
You are given back something of your children's childhood all those years ago. You are given back something of what it was like to be a young parent. You are given back something of your own childhood even, as on creaking knees you get down on the floor to play tiddlywinks, or sing about Old MacDonald and his farm, or watch Saturday morning cartoons till you're cross-eyed.
It is not only your own genes that are part of your grandchildren but the genes of all sorts of people they never knew but who, through them, will play some part in times and places they never dreamed of. And of course along with your genes, they will also carry their memories of you into those times and places too the afternoon you lay in the hammock with them watching the breezes blow, the face you made when one of them stuck out a tongue dyed Popsicle blue at you, the time you got a splinter out for one of them with the tweezers of your Swiss army knife. On some distant day they will hold grandchildren of their own with the same hands you once held them by as you searched the beach at low tide for Spanish gold.
In the meantime, they are the freshest and fairest you have. After you're gone, it is mainly because of them that the earth will not be as if you never walked on it.
~originally published in Beyond Words

Sunday, June 4, 2017

My Son and His Son

There are so many sights and sounds that fill a Grandmother's heart.  I have loved watching my sons and their daughters and am grateful for their special relationships.  I am proud of the men my sons have become and the fact that they are engaged with their daughters.  And it has been a joy to be their Granmary.  Since Joe and I had 3 sons, these girls have been an amazing delight. And now we have a grandson!  When I see Ben holding him, I marvel - thinking of Ben himself as a baby and a little boy who grew so fast.  I love seeing my son hold his son, thinking of the

Friday, February 17, 2017

Opal's Button Box

Nora's middle name is Opal.  Named for her great grandmother, my mother, Opal Terrell Teal, she does not yet realize all the ways she connects with her great-grandmother every day.  Since we share a home, she is with me often and does not yet know when she calls me - "Granmary" or climbs in my lap, she is connecting not only by relationship but in ways that I grandparent.  My own grandmother modeled grandparenting for me, but Opal did so by being a wonderful Nana to our boys. Then there are countless ways that come into everyday life - the results of my upbringing in a home with parents who valued faith and family.  Last week, Nora discovered the magic and mystery of Opal's Button Box.  The buttons in a discarded kitchen cannister are leftovers from not only her many years of sewing but also her mother's, my grandmother. They never threw buttons away but saved them carefully for reuse and repurposing. If a shirt could no longer be mended, they cut off the buttons and saved them,  using the fabric scraps in another way. There are baby buttons, the one or two buttons from a card of buttons purchased to march down the front of dresses and blouses and coats, shirt buttons, glass buttons, plastic buttons, wooden buttons, and metal buttons. Nora is only beginning to discover the thrill of handling them, and ways she can use them. So in this photo, she finds the fun in making print and pattern in play dough - all with Opal's buttons. Since then, she has carried them around in one of her own boxes and speaks with pride of her own buttons.  She says buT Tons, and I love it.  Today, she told me she needs more buttons.  She is acting true to her heritage.  Mother would be proud.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Welcome to Fall

One of the things I have always enjoyed about making a new home feel like "ours" is opening boxes and finding the place where seasonal decorations will fit.  Now that Ben and Kristen's collection of autumn stuff joins with ours, we have even more than usual. This wreath is hung on our front courtyard gate and I smile every time I see it.  I hope it speaks welcome to our new neighborhood and makes our neighbors smile too. Even though we continue to have summertime temperatures here in South Texas, there is a difference in the light filtering through the still green trees. The morning mist seems heavier on the low spots as I look out over the lake behind our house. Houses are further apart, but most yards are beginning to sport some fall color, a pumpkin or two, and wreaths of their own. We are ready for fall - for autumn colors, smells of cinnamon and allspice, autumnal tables offering squashes like butternut and acorn, hot soups, and spicy chili. It is the season of fall gardens, county fairs, football games, pumpkin spice lattes, gingerbread, and apple cider.  Welcome to this season.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Generations of Joy

Sometimes, family story is as simple as looking at what has been kept and how it is used today. On Christmas Eve 2014, Nora finds joy in this stuffed Santa who wiggles his head while music tinkles "Santa Claus is Coming Town!"  This Santa made her Daddy giggle when he was her age, and through the years perched on various bookshelves, stair steps, and kitchen counters in many different homes through our years of moving often.  He is one of the beloved Christmas decorations we pull out of a bin when we happily begin dressing our home for Christmas every year.

An even older story comes from the wooden high chair where Nora and Santa are playing.  It is also where she joined our family yesterday for her first Christmas dinner at Grandma and Papa Terrell's old oak table. The high chair, circa 1941, used by my sister in the mid 40's, all of our sons, including Nora's Daddy, and our granddaughters as they arrived and shared meals at our house.  The worn spindled back, scuffed footrest, and dented tray hold stories of 4 generations  (5 if you count my grandparents, who without doubt frequently joined Mother and Daddy for mealtime). That is a great deal of joy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mother's Kitchen Stool

I have several pieces of antique furniture that once belonged to my mother and her mother before:  an oak china cabinet of Civil War vintage, a wash stand, a library table, a rocking chair that I myself was rocked in when I was a baby, my dining table, Grandma Terrell's bureau.   I have written about the dining table, and will probably write about some of these other things at another time, but this kitchen stool with its worn edges and chipped paint, has been "talking" to me lately.  It belonged to my mother for as long as I remember, and she painted it this pale green when she repainted her kitchen cabinets in the house on Sunset Ave. where I grew up.  It went with her to the little brick house on Tena Street she and Daddy bought in the 1970's, and when she sold that house over 20 years later, the stool went to her tiny apartment in Jacksonville.  There, where the kitchen was not big enough for a stool, it sat in the corner with a circle of lace over it and held the Bible that had once belonged to my father.  In 2002, Mother's dwindling possessions and the stool moved from East Texas to Sugar Land,  to another small apartment where the lace cloth and Bible were unpacked and put back into place.  

In mid July of 2006, Mother began receiving hospice care so I began the sad task of clearing the rooms where she had spent her last years. The kitchen stool came home to another kitchen, mine. I once thought of repainting it with cheerful colors and patterns, but somehow that didn't seem right. I had grown to love every chip and scratch, and in these last 8 years it has taken on a new dignity and task. Now, this stool is where my granddaughters perch to help me cook. When they stir and taste and laugh, I feel my mother's joy blending with mine.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


The happiest times on my calendar right now are the days I care for my granddaughter Nora! Every third week is "our" week.  At 3 months, there are certain constants: feedings, diapering, and naps. I love the tending that requires. And I love the joy of the in between times - the cuddling, conversation and cooing, the rocking and singing and togetherness that refills her and comforts her and is important to her as well as those first 3 essentials.

She doesn't mind my crackly voice singing "A, You're Adorable."  We make it through that song every diaper change. If there is an entire clothing change, we sometimes get through several songs from The Sound of Music!  She talks to me with her eyes to say thank you, and flashes a coquettish grin when I brush her hair.

Yesterday we walked outside to catch a raindrop and she smelled a basil leaf when I made my lunch. She likes dots and patterns so I choose the blouse I will wear for her. We play peek a boo and pat a cake and chant nursery rhymes. When I rock her to sleep, I sing many of the same old hyms that my mother and grandmother sang to me. We have discovered that Christmas carols are wonderful lullabies!

Our other granddaughters are a joy to me and teach me just like she does that there is so much to look forward to. They help me remember some favorite lines from a poem by Mary Oliver:      "Pay attention.
   Be astonished.
    Tell about it."
 - all so much more fun when we do it together!

Saturday, March 15, 2014


The 3 inch wide kntted lace which I began when I was pregnant many years ago and picked up to work on again for that son's first child is finished.  I attached it to layers of crepe back satin, solid cream on one side, and a richly colored butterfly and roses print on the other. I knitted the lace, blocked it, cut and stitched the satin, went around the edge with pearl cotton in a blanket stitch, and finally, whip-stitched the lace to those stitches. It has been a labor of love, giving me the opportunity to focus on this baby, every stitch a prayer for her safe passage into this world and her journey in the years to come.  I have folded the coverlet and will pass it into the hands of my son and his wife today. Nora has been in our hearts for all these months, within days she will be in our arms.  Welcome, sweet little girl. You are covered with more than satin and lace. You are covered with Grace.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Returned Mail.

I am updating my file for addresses which I use each year when I address Christmas cards.  This year I had several cards returned stamped  "No Forwarding Address" , but one of them came from an address that made me look online for further information.  There I found confirmation of my sad suspicion for the reason Charlotte and Paul were no longer living in their lovely home. Charlotte died last March.  My husband's elderly cousin, Paul, and his wife, Charlotte, lived many years in Water Valley, MS, where we visited them in 1998.   They were most gracious hosts and we loved hearing Paul's family stories.  At that time he was in his mid eighties, and still going in to his office every day. We enjoyed a delicious lunch of chicken salad and tomato aspic and talked about the fact that in a few weeks, another couple with their names would be married: our son whose middle name is Paul and his fiance, Charlotte. They were delighted and upon discovering that Charlotte's little daughter from a previous marriage was also joining our family, Charlotte asked what grandmother name I would be called.  When I replied that at the present I was simply called by my given name, Mary Ann, she exclaimed, "Oh, no, that will never do. She needs a special name for you."  Then she told me her friend's name is Mary, and that her grandchildren call her Granmary.  That is how I came to have a name I now love.  Four beautiful granddaughters call me Granmary, and soon there will be a 5th little girl to call me that.  I have that charming Charlotte to thank for this pleasure!

 She was a true Steel Magnolia - a wife, mother, and quintessential southern lady who graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in education, taught and coached girls' basketball. After she married Paul, she managed his store during his military tour of duty. Charlotte, I salute you. And I don't need your forwarding address. I know where you are.