I sent out Christmas cards last week, and I was blowing and going through the list, hand addressing them (because I wanted to practice my new lettering skills) and I got to my grandmother’s name: Marynell Reece. She passed away this last July, and seeing her name on my Christmas card list stopped me dead in my tracks. So I stopped and had myself a good little cry. She would have loved our Christmas card. Not because it was well designed or because I had (for once in my life) gotten them out on time, but because she LOVED my daughter. She really got a kick out of her ‘babydoll’. And she would have loved this stage where Taylor is feisty and hams it up for people, that is just the sort of personality my grandmother loved. And I am heartbroken that she doesn’t get to see these stages in Taylor’s life. She would have laughed so hard at the picture of Taylor in her Halloween costume clearly thrilled at the prospect of candy. After all… the sweet tooth in our family comes directly from Nannan–the rest of the food in her fridge might be moldy, but you could be guaranteed the Hershey bars on top of the fridge were nice and fresh.
Nannan also loved Christmas. We always had a big to do with the whole family, complete with FAR too much food, too many gifts and a lot of chaos. The more chaos the more my grandmother liked it. So this first Christmas without her will be especially hard. Grief is like that… both predictable and unpredictable. It hits you in the moments you expect in the most… like opening presents on Christmas morning, or in traditions that will fall by the wayside because she isn’t here to make them happen anymore. But it also hits you in the unexpected moments, like sending out your Christmas cards. Or for me, walking into Allen Fieldhouse for the first game of the season to watch her beloved Jayhawks–in our seats near the band because she always enjoyed watching the drummers. This is the last photo I have of my grandmother with Taylor. It was taken just a few weeks before she died, and I love how it shows how much she loved Taylor. Smitten doesn’t even begin to cover it.
My grandmother was a force to be reckoned with and had a pretty fiery personality. She taught me a lot about how to be a strong woman and to work for the things I wanted… but also how to enjoy life. She loved her family and was NEVER afraid to speak her mind. I am so grateful to have had 32 years of my life with her, and been able to create such a strong bond. I miss her so much, but I’m also so glad that she had a life well lived. And if I have my choice, I’d like to go out just like her, after a weekend of celebration and family, after 96 years and a long successful marriage, with tons of family. May we all be so lucky.