Assignment: write about your family (collectively or a particular family member), reflecting on how yours has shaped you. Picture the person (or people) in your mind and allow the surprising and memorable details to come to you. How do you see this family member (and how do they see you)? What activities you do together? What ideas do you share? Where do you differ? What have you learned from each other? Let your descriptions reveal the nature of your relationship.
Memere and Me
As I reflect on all the good times I've had with my grandmother, I can’t help but wonder if she is like most grandmothers. The relationship I have with her is very special and I value all the time I get to spend with her.
Memere is, and always will be a devoted Catholic. At eighty-seven years old, she still resides at her three story apartment in Manchester, NH where she raised her children. She remains there today since it supports her lifestyle being convenient to all her needs. In fact, just down the street from her house is Saint Mary’s Church. I can only think that she thanks God every day for living next to His house so she can visit Him frequently in peaceful prayer.
This past Thanksgiving, when my parents invited her over, I was reminded once again how close my Memere is to God. She walked over to church just to get the bread she had made blessed for us all to eat. The doorbell rang and I rushed instantly into her warm embrace; her yelling: “Keep those Cats away from me. I hate cats.” We all laugh, but never the less, I brought my cute kitties downstairs to the cold basement of my house. My mother, aunt and I made frequent visits to the basement that day and I took many pictures to show my Memere how cute they were. She looked away from my pictures once again stating her hatred for cats. Well, that did it for me! I decided I was going to give at least one of my kitties freedom from the basement and so I brought up Lily. “You brought a cat up here. I can smell him! You’d better keep that cat away from me!” Memere snapped out loud. My mother then quietly reminded me to keep Lily away from my grandmother. As we all were enjoying the day; one of my uncles was watching the cruelty of nature on the Animal Channel while two of my other uncles were discussing politics. I enjoyed the many times I spent going up and down the stairs to visit my cats. After eating the feast my parents prepared for us all to enjoy, we were playing cards and I suddenly heard a blood curdling scream and saw a face of terror coming into my grandmother eyes. Seeing Lily pounce next to her, I laughed a little as I quickly ran to Lily saying, “Memere they won’t hurt you.” “I don’t care!” Memere angrily replied. “Just keep them away from me!” Seeing the fear in Memere’s eyes, I quickly brought Lily to my bedroom and rescued the others from the cold basement bringing them all in my safe warm bedroom. Even though my grandmother and I think differently about cats, I still love her because what I witnessed on Thanksgiving was not my Memere’s hatred for cats, but her psychological fear of them.
Reflecting back in my early years with my grandmother, I recall the many times in summer when she would babysit for my brother and me at her house so that our parents could go to work. When we first entered; she gently placed the two of us separate from one another; each of us having our own couch; as she knew for certain we would harm each other if left too close together. “Sit quietly and watch the cartoon on TV,” she said to each of us as we proceeded to fiercely stare one another down. After spending some time making sure we were safe from one another, Memere proceeded to her kitchen where I can still remember the delicious smells of her homemade chicken noodle soup and sandwiches she would make for us. During lunch, we would all eat together as Memere changed the channel to The Price is Right, her favorite daytime show. “Too low, that car is at least worth $6,000 she would yell to the contestant on TV; both my brother and I chuckling as we watched her respond to the show.
Throughout my life my visits with my grandmother only made me love her more. She would always give me the food I loved to eat. Memere taught me how to play most of the cards games I know today. Our favorite games we play together include Rummy and trente-et-un. We are both highly competitive with one another and hate to lose but still love playing together. My dad told me she was so good at winning that she even made him cry as a child. Seeing that image in my head makes me laugh. As for myself, after playing rummy with my grandmother, I’ve become quite good at it. Working as a lifeguard on my breaks, I would find other lifeguards to play cards with. I was skillful at beating them in Rummy a classic game my grandmother taught me. Spending time with one another was always lots of fun. Even today, I will tease her for how short she is to me. I call her a midget and she calls me a giant. When at the table and she is asking if I want more food, I cut her off and ask her if she wants more food. I love to see her shaking her head saying, “No, I had enough!” I love taking pictures of her and getting a rise out of her. She hates her picture taken. Every time I take snapchats of her she would look at me in discuss saying; “I don’t like that!” or “Put that thing away!” referring to my phone. Of course, even today whenever I get to see her, I will continue taking tons of pictures of her despite her not liking it. I enjoy her repeatedly sticking her tongue out for the pictures I take. We both die laughing at that one.
I love the fact that she has no filter when she’s talking and will say what is on her mind. Her wonderful sense of humor gets me laughing with her all the time. Is my grandmother typical of other grandmothers? I don’t know. All I know is that I love the religious values she instilled in me and I love her very much!