things my grandma loved

My grandma loved many things. More things and people than I could ever imagine, I’m sure. But that’s just who she was — a person immensely, almost impossibly, full of love.

G’ma loved to sing. I remember being little, and loving to sing, too, but I didn’t want to sing too loud — like at church — because I worried other people would hear me, think I was terrible and make fun of me. So I was bewildered by my grandma, who always sang full-volume at church. Didn’t she worry other people would hear her, think she was terrible, and make fun of her?

No. She didn’t.

That’s one of the first things I remember learning from G’ma, though I’m not sure she taught me intentionally. She showed me how happy you can be, if you could just let yourself to do the things you love, no matter what anyone thinks.

G’ma loved the Cubs. She’s why we prefer the radio commentary over TV. She’s why we know how to fill out a scorecard. She’s why we still don’t stand during the 7th inning. And she is why we all celebrated on November 2, 2016, when the Cubbies won the World Series, “after all the waiting we had done.”

G’ma loved to talk. She really, really loved to talk. She loved to talk so much, in fact, that my parents once bought her a sweatshirt that said, in huge letters, “Help! I’m talking and I can’t SHUT UP.” It was a gift she accepted with a great, teary laugh, because not only did she think it was funny, she also knew it was so, so true. (It would be unfair of me to omit this part of the story: My parents actually bought two of those shirts. One was for me. I think it’s clear that this is a hereditary trait, and I’m honestly surprised my dad didn’t buy a third shirt to give my mom as to highlight the path of this genetic gift.)

G’ma loved being a grandma. From school plays to graduations and first communions to weddings, she always seemed to be there. And though we lived far apart, she always had us with her, in the pictures in her purse, the handprints on her sweater, the voices from her clock, and the charms on her necklace, right above her heart.

And G’ma loved Pa. I got married a few years ago — Pa performed the ceremony — and I remember at some point during the rehearsal, Grandma started talking to me and Matt (of course) about how she liked to sit on the aisle at church so she could see Pa. You see, there’s a part of Mass where everybody holds hands to say the Our Father, but obviously, with Pa doing his deacon duties and Grandma in the pews, they can’t hold hands. She always made sure to sit where she could see him, she told us, so during the prayer, they could look into each other’s eyes. That was their way of holding hands.

And when she told us that, I thought, Wow. Isn’t that such a wonderful thing? How wonderful, that we can be so full of love.

{image: g’ma & the sweatshirt}


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