Mr.4444's grandma, Florence (a.k.a. Gram) was one of a kind. She was the "cool" grandma who let her teenage grandson drive her car up at the camp before he had a license, who habitually stayed up til 3am or later to read and slept til noon, and who once smacked a wild bear in the nose through her screen door when he came for a taste of the homemade thimbleberry jam she was cooking.
Mr.4444 and I used to sometimes find ourselves in disagreement over cribbage game rules, and we always knew we could call Gram (one timezone ahead of us) for the final decision, no matter how late it was. Mr.4444 also loved that he could always call Gram to chat late at night, when he had trouble sleeping or just missed hearing her voice. She was always glad for the phone calls, but she never complained of being lonely; she kept busy with her hundreds of books and her knitting projects.
Thankfully, Kyle and Kendall also got to know Gram 4444 before her passing, in 2002. They shared a special relationship with Florence. I've told you about how they always had a race when she visited. They also loved to visit her house, because she had a tiny, narrow stairway that led up to the bedrooms, and her linoleum floor in the living room made an excellent skating rink. She's the great grandma who handed Kyle a small hatchet and let him go at a piece of wood in the back yard, the grandma who knitted everyone sweaters, and who always said, "Love me-Love my stink!" if anyone produced and offensive odor (not me, of course, only her grandchildren.)
Gram was a real character, who spent her whole life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where the snow is measured in feet, instead of inches, and she could go for months stuck inside the house, because the snow often covered the windows from late fall to spring. We didn't see her often but always wanted to make sure she knew we loved her, especially when it came to gifts. I've already shared one idea for The Best Gift to give a grandma when the best present to give is really your presence. Today, while cleaning a cupboard, I found a different gift that we made for Gram 4444 many years ago. It's one of those gifts that doesn't just go in the trash after the recipient has passed away, because it's not just some knickknack; it's love in a tangible form.
I bought an inexpensive container... and grabbed some pretty, one-sided paper, cutting it into strips. Then, we each sat down and made these....
I wrote most of Kendall's for her, since she was only three at the time. Mr.4444 wrote the ones that you can see the most easily in the pics.
"Grandma, you snore like a bear, but we love you anyway!" Love, Kyle and Kendall
"Thank you for the driving lesson." (Mr.4444)
"Thank you for letting me chop wood!" Kyle
"Remember Dad in a diaper?!" (Bob had many years prior dressed as a New Years Baby and, yes, wore nothing but a baby bonnet and a diaper.)
I wrote about how much we laughed that night at the wedding and how beautiful she looked, among other things.
We gave the gift to Gram for Christmas, instructing her to read one each day, but of course, she read them all at once and then put them back in the jar and took them out, savoring each one whenever she felt like it. She loved the gift, and the best part about it was that each one of us played a role in its creation. She knew we had each spent time thinking of her as we made the gift, and really, what better gift is there?
Today, we miss Gram, and although she is no longer with us, the special gift that we gave to her can now give back to us....
because love lasts forever.