My grandmother was nothing short of amazing. My mother says that when someone dies you only remember the good about them. In my grandparents case, all of them… I can say that must most certainly be true. She was a little spitball of fire. While I’m not little, I think the spitball must’ve thankfully been passed on to me and then Bria. Her compassion fell firmly on Hanan’s shoulders. Her need to analyze every situation and be slightly wary is all Arleigh all the time. All of my girls inherited her kindness and her need to make sure everyone feels loved. 

When I was little Gran would fill a wheelbarrow with a giant soft quilt and toys. I would be plopped in the middle of it and she would wheel me to my grandfather’s feed mill. BEST STROLLER EVER! I still remember the rust coming through the sides of the light blue wheelbarrow. I wish I still had it… that and Dee’s iron kettle. (Does anybody know where that dang kettle is?) Anyway, I have great memories of her and lengths she went to for my happiness. 

The thing that my Gran loved most in the world was have all of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in one place. She told me once that her dream was to have all of us live in a giant house like they did at South Fork on Dallas. More that once I think I told her one of us might go to jail if her dream ever came to fruition. She just wanted one giant happy family under one roof. Today, I totally understand her sentiment. She had the market on Faith and Family before those duck hunters ever figured it out. Because of that, I have some great childhood memories. 

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. We know how to throw down. We hurt each other’s feelings. We also know how to make up. I’m sorries are never easy but I saw that example, often with trays of cupcakes on many occasions. We get mad. We cry. We make up. We get over it. I hope my kids see that even though we don’t live as close to them as we’d often like. We also know how to take care of each other. I’ve seen that over and over, mostly at funerals, sometimes over health scares. You guys, I just LOVE my big family to death even if they only see me once a year. 

So a weird thing happened while I was sitting at the Women of Faith conference. Thelma Wells was telling her story. I heard bits of it years ago. She was talking about the God given revelation that her family was knit with people from all nations of the world. She spoke about forgiveness and holding your family close. Now, here’s something you may not know about me. I have a ridiculous sense of smell. I must’ve been a hound dog in a former life of something. I gagged when mom changed my diapers. I’m getting to the point, I promise. As Thelma talked about her family I started smelling a familiar smell. I thought maybe it was the tuberose I put on before I left that morning. Nope. It was distracting me. Then it hit me. It was Gran. I know I sound like a  fruit loop but I could totally smell Gran and what a comfort it was. No one was sitting in either seat beside me. I just imagined her sitting with me bouncing in her seat with laughter, tapping my arm saying, “I told you that was important!”

One of the things Thelma Wells said was that she was praying for God to help her understand why a particular family member treated her the way she did. I won’t tell you her story. Let me just say this family member seemed to be so awful she could be seen as a bit of a monster. Her answer was that God loves everyone and Thelma doesn’t know what happened to cause her to be that way. If she could forgive her grandmother, we should all be able to treat the rest of our families with love and respect. 

To lighten the moment…speaking of respect… about half of my family have their butts firmly placed beachside this week. When we left church on Sunday it was snowing so I sent them a text with a picture of the kids enjoying the snow. I received a picture back with a note that said, “Here we are in the sun.”

Please know I love and respect them anyway. Next year…I’m going. Ray, good luck with the kids and their nutty schedule. I also had a note from a cousin also stuck in the cold that after all my Hawaiian pictures I deserved it but whatever man. One day I will live in the sun again.