Tag Archives: Grandma

Beauty along the road

13 Apr

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Friday was a hard day for me. But I did not fail to notice the beauty of the nature around me during the day. At the door of the doctor’s office was where the first picture was taken. In a shady corner near the door, the small patch of grass was covered in tiny purple flowers. Purple is my signature color. So the ground cover made me smile. Hours later as I left, I noticed a large grape hyacinth in full bloom. My Grandma Kennedy loved hyacinths. I would always cut some out of our yard and give them to her in a bud vase for Easter. I took seeing these as a sign that she was watching over me. I believe she has become my guardian angel since she passed because she sends me signs that she is there. I believe the grape hyacinth was a sign because I had been to that same doctor only a few days earlier and there had not been a patch of purple flowers there before. I do choose to find meaning in these small things. I think I would miss her so much more if I never saw the heron or didn’t notice a huge bloom of grape hyacinths growing next to the sidewalk. I got really hard news at that doctor’s office that day. The next few months are going to be hard too. I am glad I have a strong guardian angel to look out for me. And I am glad I can find such spirituality in Nature.

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My Easter

31 Mar

So I thought it was high time that I write in my blog. Originally it started out as a writing blog but as my photography skills got better my pictures kind of took over. And I am so grateful for all the positive response and new followers my pictures have brought me! But my talent has always been writing and so here we are.

Today is Easter Sunday and I consider myself a Catholic. But here I am blogging away but not in Church. I believe in God and the saints and the rituals of my religion but I have serious doubts about the politics of the Church. I have serious doubts about politics in any area in fact. But I have found it very hard to go back to Church even though I love so many things about it.

When I was growing up Church and Easter meant family. I remember going to Mass with my Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy and a gaggle of my cousins. Everyone lived closer to each other back then. We could take up three pews if we all tried to sit together, and we always did. I loved to hold hands with my family while we said the Our Father. I loved comparing our cute Easter dresses with Christy and Lauren and my Aunts. I loved standing side by side in the pews of the church with my family. I loved to pick out the voices of my Aunts as we all sang the different songs during Mass. My favorite songs were Church songs and I don’t know if it was the comfort I got knowing they were always the same ones and would always be the same ones, or if is was the words and melody that attracts me to every song I fall in love with. With Catholic Mass there is a great comfort in repetition, imagining I am saying the same prayers that had echoed through the Church for hundreds of years.

And then there was the family time after church. Whether it was an Easter egg hunt in the backyard or the pounds of ham devoured for brunch, I was with my family. At my other Grandparents house, my Great Grandma Adams always made these huge overstuffed Easter baskets and hide them around the house. I would wake up in the morning in my night gown and a knot of long curly hair on my head and groggily search the whole house. Ultimately to find an Easter basket taller then I was. And all the pictures I have of those times are some of my greatest treasures. Swarms of kids outside in their church clothes searching newly blooming flower beds for plastic eggs filled with goodies while being yelled at not to get dirty. Family pictures where my Dad and Tom have the same scowl on their faces partly from the Spring sun in their eyes and partly because they were forced into neckties. I remember trying eggs Benedict for the first time at my Aunt Jan’s house for one Easter. I love the feeling of a huge family stuffed into a slightly too small house and celebrating not only the holiday but simply being together.

But these days things have changed. Both my Grandpa and Grandma Kennedy have passed on and my Great Grandma Adams and my Uncle Joe and too many others. As the family has grown up, they have spread out too. I am lucky to get to see people from either side more than once a year. I know that all things change and the happiness they have found in growing up and having families of their own brings me so much joy. I thank God everyday for things like Facebook and cell phones because they keep us connected. But with Church it is harder to find the joy that used to be there. I still believe in God and living a good life. I say my Hail Marys often and ask for forgiveness when I feel I have done something wrong. But when I walk into Church, I can’t hear the beauty in the music anymore. I don’t feel the comfort in the prayers that I used to. And I hope the feeling won’t last forever, I honestly do. Until then I know God still hears me and that my Grandma Kennedy sends me signs to show me she is still watching over me and is my strongest Guardian Angel. And I will cherish the one or two times a years when I get to squish into a house a little too small for all of us.

So I do want to wish Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates whether religiously or bunny-centric or a little of both!

Throwback Thursday Surprise

14 Mar

I decided to jump on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon on Instagram. I wanted to do something for my Mom because she does so much for me. When my Grandma, her Mom, passed away almost two years ago we got a whole bunch of photos among other things. Some were just piles of photos and some were framed . Honestly we have not touched the framed photos since we got them. It was a really hard loss for my whole family. So today I was looking for some older photos of my Mom to put together a collage-like picture idea. My Grandma had 10 kids and there are 29(ish) grand-kids and 7 great grand-babies(as of now) plus spouses. So needless to say she had a bazillion pictures. But she had each of her original 10 kids senior pictures framed above her bed. So I went to take my Mom’s senior picture out of its frame to copy it and behind her picture I found all these others. It was an amazing surprise. My Grandma really is a guardian angel in my life and I believe in the lives of my whole family. And some days she makes it a point to remind me that she is watching over me. So I shed a few tears and snapped this quick picture. I love it. And I love my Mom and my Grandma very much. I miss my Grandma very much still but I can still feel her with me in my heart.  F.Y.I – My Mom’s senior picture is the center one in the bottom row.

My absence and brighter days ahead

6 Feb

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So I have been quiet on the blogging front for a few days. We had a death in the family and had to go to the wake and funeral in Cincinnati. It got me thinking of all the things my elders have passed on to me. One thing people might not know about me is that I love to garden. Both my Mom and Grandma Kennedy started me gardening at a very young age and I really find it fulfilling. And now that I have taken up photography, I love to capture photos of it too. I have bunches from last spring and summer. But along with gardening knowledge our family does something kind of unique (as far as I know). My Grandma K passed down actually seeds and flowers from her house and my Great-Grandma Solliday’s farm. Lots of the flowers in our gardens at the house came from the farm my Grandma grew up on in Washington, IN. And some come from the big house where she raised her 10 kids. And some come from the lake house where so many of my cherished summers were spent with my huge crazy family. And some come from the last house she lived in and passed away in. I even got a bucket of her old gardening tools when she passed away. And someday if I am very lucky I will have kids of my own to pass on starts of all these plants to. I feel a special link between my Grandma and my Mom and I when it comes to getting soil under my fingernails and I will forever be grateful for that. The first picture is of a pink-purple bearded iris that came from the big house and the second picture is some of the gardening tools I inherited. Can’t you tell Spring is a coming!!

Memories of Shirley Temple…

23 Jan

Tonight I was reminded of a great memory while watching T.V.. My Grandma Kennedy passed away 2 years ago but the thing I remembered was from a long time ago when I was a little girl. My Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy had 10 kids and they used to have a huge house big enough to hold them all. When I was a little kid this big house was like an amusement park for me. I was the first grandkid too, so my Grandma tried to spoil me whenever she could. I used to get to spend weekends with them all by myself and now I realize how special those moments were. My Grandparents used to have dinner parties and afterwards they made all their friends drinks. Now you have to realize that we are Irish Catholic which might as well be a symptom of alcoholism in my mind. My Grandma could not have made a froo-froo fruity drink if her life depended on it. So I would watch as she made real drinks for every single adult in the house after eating a huge dinner which she also prepared. And she would look down at me, because I was only knee height at the time, and ask what I was hanging around for. I would say that I was waiting for my drink. I mean everyone else had one and I thought that should include me. So my Grandma would ask if I wanted a Shirley Temple. And I would squeal to the affirmative. I loved and still love today Shirley Temple. And I assumed that a drink named after her had to be a drink she drank all the time. And my Grandma put no less work into my drink that she did the others. She would take a martini shaker and pour in 2 shots of 7-UP and 2 shots of Sprite. She would throw in some ice cubes and shut the shaker. She would shake up my Shirley Temple and pour it into a short old-fashioned drink glass. And then she would take 2 maraschino cherries from the jar and drop them into my drink. Last but not least she would put in a red drink stirring straw and put it on a fancy napkin. She would carry it into me at the table in front of everyone. It was one of the few times in my life that I remember a whole room of people looking at me without my face turning bright red. Maybe I was too young to feel embarrassed. Maybe my Grandma just made me feel special and not guilty that she was treating me special too. There are more days in my life now that I barely remember feeling special. I am glad I have memories of my Grandma to remind me of what special feels like. I miss her so much. Maybe I will go make myself a Shirley Temple and remember her some more.

To where my mind wanders…

15 Jul

Lately the same quote seems to be jumping out at me on all my social media. It wasn’t a quote I was familiar with but just the same it struck a chord with me. It goes something like ” To find your true love, all you have to do is watch where your mind goes when it wanders.” This would be hard for me normally because my mind is constantly wandering and imagining. But this summer there has been something that keeps dragging my attention back to it. It is a large empty space. Here is who used to fill my summer days.

This is my Grandma driving the boat at our family’s lake house. And I am the little girl on her lap. My face is most likely that way because she tooted the horn. The horn on the boat was a quick blaring honk. Kind of like putting a Canadian goose in front of a microphone and then stomping on it once really hard. It was so loud it literally made your heart skip a beat if you were sitting in front of it when it was honked. I hated that horn! I was so lucky. I spent 30 years of summers on the lake with my family. When I was really little it was just me and my grandparents because I was the only grandchild for a little while. I was lucky that way too because I remember things that my younger cousins might not. And then as my aunts and uncles got married and had kids, we had wild summers. I mean squeezing 30 or 40 people into a one story house with only one bathroom was an adventure in itself. But now imagine half of those being kids under 12, you get the idea of the fun we had. And we had boat rides and swimming and diving contests and amazing fireworks displays put on by my youngest uncle Mike on the Fourth of July. And acres and acres of s’mores. And mountains of food and soda pop. During those years the only time I had alone with my Grandma was the very early morning before everyone else woke up. Of all those kids and adults, Grandma was always up first. Starting the coffee and melting the grease in the frying pan for scrambled eggs for 20 kids. I would wake up and tiptoe over the carpet of sleeping bodies in the living room.  I would get to take Grandpa his coffee as he rocked in his chair on the porch. He always got the first rocking chair in the row and then Grandma got the second and then I got the third. But usually Grandma would sit me in her chair with a tiny kid sized cup of OJ so she could go back to making breakfast without me underfoot. And I would rock and babble non-stop at my Grandpa. To me he was a really good listener but I am sure he just learned to tune out little kid babble. But he was a man of few words with me and I loved him for it. Then people would start waking up and eating. And after that it was a matter of whining until we could go swimming.

As a teenager things changed a bit. My Grandpa had his first stroke when I was 11. And he continued to have them. At home and at the lake my Grandma was his constant nurse with the help of my Uncle Mike. But my Grandpa loved the lake so it was very important to my Grandma that he get to keep going there. Unfortunately our lake house is as handicapped friendly as Mount Everest. That fact also became very apparent as my own brother was paralyzed and put into a wheelchair permanently. But the lake was my sanctuary. And I continued to wake up when I heard Grandma get up. But I would now take my slightly bigger cup of OJ and go out to the swing. We had an amazing swing anchored between two huge trees. It was a porch swing and when you sat in it you had an amazing view of the better part of the lake. And I would write sometimes creatively, sometimes personally. And I would enjoy the silvery water of the lake and the cool morning breeze blowing through the trees. I felt so completely safe. It recharged my batteries to go back and face a high school life I was unhappy with. With my brother getting sick and my family struggling with that and so much more, I needed a sanctuary. The lake was my perfect place. In my whole life I only ever brought 3 people there and shared my experience with them. But none of them understood why the lake healed me the way it did.

And as I got older my relationship with my Grandma changed again. After my Grandpa passed away, my Grandma said she liked going to the lake because it was his favorite place and it made her feel close to him. And honestly I think it was because my Grandma and I had the same schedule. I wasn’t in school or working so I could go with her during the week to the lake. We would go to clean and plant the garden. She would fill up her car with clean towels, blankets, and sheets. I would pack a backpack and we would just go. It was great. We had so many great conversations on the hour or so drive down. She was really wanting to understand the problems I was having. And she would show me how to make a bed “the right way”. Although to this day I don’t make my bed. She would teach me all about gardening. And I was excited to learn. There was this little hardware store with a little greenhouse attached on the way to the lake house. We would stop there and pick out tons and tons of little flower plants. And we would plant all the pots and flower beds in all different flowers and colors. Or we would clean the huge windows on the porch. It was hot work but once you were done you felt like you had really done something. Then Grandma would take a drink down to the dock and I would go for a swim. We would watch the boats go by, having their last bit of fun before the light went on at the beach. It meant you couldn’t drive your boat fast anymore for the night. We would go in after that. Grandma would cook dinner and we would watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy while we ate. She was always better at the Wheel but I was always better at Jeopardy. Then she would rock in her chair on the porch, never Grandpa’s, until she was tired. I would read until I was sleepy. We would go for three or four days in a row. And I really started to enjoy those trips.

My Grandma sold the lake house a few years ago and it broke my heart. Or so I thought. My Grandma passed away last year. I knew real heart-break then. I know it still. She was the biggest part of my sanctuary. And this summer whether I am gardening or writing or cleaning around the house, she is where my mind wanders to. Or rather the empty hole in my life where she used to be.

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