"You are my Sunshine" was a result of my Grandma June singing this to me each time I spent the night at her house. She had a warbly voice, but her singing to me made me just feel so cozy and special. I lived literally right next door to her growing up, but when we had to stay the night, she treated it as if it were a special occasion. Out came the rag rollers, out came the special jammies, waffles for breakfast, cookies at bedtime, and always a song as she sat on the bed.
Now, everyone has good grandparents, but MINE... Well, I was lucky. I had a great childhood. My best friends were my cousins, my biggest tormentors were also my cousins and my uncles. My grandparents were my biggest fans. At least that's the way I want to remember it :) Grandpa would pay double for things he bought once and we resold to him to make a few bucks. Grandma always had ice cream on hand. I liked the routine and the closeness of our family. Grandma and I talked on the phone all the time, even once I moved to college and even more after I was married.
Now, don't get me wrong, I know my mom loved me (some of it was out of obligation, I'm sure!), but Mom's are supposed to nag, and punish, and make sure you keep all your body parts. They do the worrying and get the brunt of teenage hormones and attitudes, but Grandmas just get to love, and my Grandma June did that the best.
When my Grandpa Art passed away in 2007, I thought my heart broke. I came home from the funeral, flung myself on my bed and sobbed for what seemed forever. When his wife died 9 months later, I knew it was broke. This was the end of a generation for my paternal side of our family. The entire glue that brought everyone together on Sunday afternoons and Christmas morning was gone.
My grandma is gently joked about being so emotional. I loved it. She would cry over everything. A sweet gesture...tears. Somebody else's hurt feelings...tears. Something beautiful or spiritual...tears. I had that trait passed on to me. James saw a light bulb commercial once and asked if I was bawling yet and when he looked over, I was. I like to think it is a good thing, and the waterproof mascara industry is making a killing off me. Losing 2 of my grandparents like that was hard for me. Us grandchildren stood at her funeral to sing You are my Sunshine. And when I say "us", I mean everyone but me. I stood there with my eyes leaking.
|Amber age 2, Brother Joshua, age 3-4 months, Grandma June|
Grandma would remind me constantly about the need to let little boys be boys. She would find them amusing instead of obnoxious. She taught me how they need to be built up differently from girls. How they needed to be hosed off in the yard before they could come inside.
She taught me things about being married and having patience with your spouse. How to change my approach when needed. And during those talks, she reminded me how much I was loved. Losing her felt like I lost the ONE PERSON in the world that thought I was amazing. But by making me feel that I was amazing, even when I wasn't, I knew I wanted my kids to feel that way. That no matter how bad they pissed me off, that they always had a place to call home. A place that they could come and be loved, even when they didn't deserve it. This was hard to do once they got to be teenagers!
Tyler hit that stage around 12 years old and I realized I'd be looking into selling him to the gypsies a lot sooner. I knew where they lived because Grandpa had shown me once when he was supposed to sell me. Thank goodness he let my parents down!
By Age 15, I started to like this creature much better, and he was funny when he was with his friends. He had a good, happy laugh. Then it turned to a mischievous laugh. I should have caught on faster...
Tyler and a couple of his dopey friends decided to move to Mexico. We would be home, thinking they were at the drive in, while they were quietly slipping away South. It's a long story how it all unfolded, but we have a good laugh over it now. We never accused them of being geniuses...let's just say that.
It's funny now, but it wasn't funny. It was hurtful. It was cowardly. It was mean, especially to his brothers and sister. I was so mad at him that I wasn't sure how I wanted to handle it. For the first time ever, I told him I thought it was best that he stayed with his Mom in Utah. I always wondered about that day where he would scream at me, "You're not my mom! I'm moving in with her!" But it never came, and here I was the one encouraging it. I hadn't talked to him since they got caught running away, and when he called, I didn't know whether to pick up the phone giving him the riot act, whether I would act indifferent, or bawl because he had scared me and hurt my feelings. He must have know those were the options he might face, because he said he was surprised I answered at all.
I kept reminding myself that every kid needs to feel that they had a place to come home to, where no matter what went on in the world, home was a place to be loved. But he didn't want to be at this home. I cried when I told him I didn't want him back right now and sent him a box of his clothes. Within 2 weeks, he had run away again from his Moms house. James went on a manhunt for him. Can I say that my husband has tracking SKILLS? When I got a chance to talk to him about it, he said that he knew he would always come back home. It's where he was running TO that time.
|Top of the tram in Wilson. Get us off of here!! It's COOOLD!|