Friday, January 4, 2013

Blog 57: Memories of Nana

About seven years ago all of us girls wrote down our own special memories of our mom, and our children wrote of their wonderful memories of their nana.   We gathered these writings and put them in a book to give to Mom on her birthday.   This was years before Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.   

"When you look into your mother's eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find on this earth."  Mitch Albom 

Mom's 77th birthday is approaching at the end of this month, and I searched my file cabinet to find copies of the letters, because I remembered that time and how special it was.  The ones who could be there, gathered around and laughed and cried as we read our letters to Mom.  

The following were written by my three children... 

From Denise…

“I have many fond memories with Nana.  Some of my best memories come from the times when Nicole and I used to spend the night at her house.  Nana was always so good to us.  I can remember countless times when she’d drive us to go ice-skating or go to the movies, etc.  Oh, and I can’t leave out the yard sales!  We’d drive around for hours going to yard sales.  My items of choice were usually baby clothes that I’d use for my dolls.  And Nana’s negotiation skills were impeccable.  Seems like it didn’t matter if the item was marked $15, if Nana wanted it she’d leave having only spent a nickel.  Remarkable.  And other times we wouldn’t really do anything at all.  We’d just sit at the table and eat macaroni and cheese and talk.  I hope that Nana knows how grateful I am for all that she did for me and Nicole.  I’m sure we could be a handful at times, but we really enjoyed the time we spent not only with each other, but also with her.  Thank you, Nana.  I love you!”

From John…

“Nana is the best Nana anyone could ever ask for.  So many times I sit in my California home and reminisce about all the great times I’ve had hanging out with her, all the while remembering the little things I’ve learned in life by following her lead.   Little things such as the fact that I always have a refrigerator stocked with Coke to offer guests, and the reason I don’t walk around my house eating a sandwich without a plate (we all know how she is about crumbs).  She’s also the reason I blame the squeaks in the floor when I pick up any of those hard-to-find crumbs that slip off the plate and I accidentally toot.  Maybe I should learn to follow her lead a bit more so the next time I’m over at her house I don’t hit my head on the ceiling when I walk down the stairs.  But most of all I think about how she loved to be around the grandchildren; willing to take on me, Brooke, Rose and Michael all at once.  Babysitting Denise and Nicole had to be the biggest handful but I never remember Nana complaining one bit, never yelled at me for a single thing, even if it was completely obvious I was the one who made the mess in the basement.

If you all are wondering why in the world I would leave the great state of Iowa and move to California, blame Nana.  The main reason I moved out here was to get Nana an autograph of one of those ice skaters that she loves so dearly.  Which one was it?  Anyway, I’ll find that person and my duty out here will be complete.  And I’ll be sure to tell Tom Cruise to get a life.  I miss you Nana.  I love you soooo much and my plane rides home are actually enjoyable because not only will I get to see my parents and sisters, but I also get to hang out with you and talk to you as if you’re one of my boys.  I could write so much more about what you have meant to me but Kristi Yamaguchi is paging me and wants to know who the heck Nana is?!?  Take care and I love you lots!”

From Rose...

"So here I am, at my desk, beginning to write my contribution to a book of combined memories of my Nana. 

This will be easy, I thought to myself, when I was asked to come up with one of the fondest memories I have of my grandma.  Quite the opposite of my assumption, I have come to realize how much I was mistaken.  What if I have too many good memories to choose from?  Well, my Nana has provided me with 28 years of memories.

One of my biggest memories of Nana is when I was able to sleep over night at her house.  Usually I stayed the night with Brooke since the two of us always asked to stay over night together.  Brooke and I would typically stay up late in the living room before retiring to bed upstairs for the night.  Nana would always let us stay up later than I could at home so it was quite the treat.  Poor Nana was victim to many dance routines, singing ensembles, and plays since Brooke and I took great pleasure in performing things for anyone who would watch our final routine.  So one day she decided to take us to the mall for a video recording of us singing and performing the song of our choice.  I was extremely nervous to perform in a booth in front of strangers, and on camera.  Brooke and I had to sing first then dance to our recorded voices while pretending to sing.  To make things even more nerve racking, they displayed your performance to people walking by in the mall.  Bless Nana’s heart, she convinced us to do it and told us we were excellent performers.  So we did a routine to Madonna’s song (of course) Material World.  It was so much fun and it turned out to be the perfect gift for our mom’s on Christmas.  I will never forget how much fun I had on that day.

I cannot end with just the one story so I will have to briefly mention a few more memories.  I have to smile when I think back to how important I felt playing ‘Here Comes The Bride” on my tiny little organ when Nana and Grandpa Bill got married.  I had letters taped to my keyboard to help me play the song.  I felt so grown up that day.

Nana carried on her tradition of allowing the grandkids to order two things at a fast food place, just like she did with my mom and aunts.  One time she took a few of us to McDonald’s while we were having a yard sale at my house.  I ordered French fries and a shake for my two things.  I came home and threw up whole French fries while Nana and my mom took turns rubbing my back.  Nana joked and asked if I even chewed the fries before I swallowed.

I should probably write my own book of memories with Nana since I have so many more I would like to share.  Nana has been the closest grandparent that I have had.  She has played a huge role in my life and I look forward to many memories to come."


My mom's family was more important to her than anything else in this world.  It's clear that my mom's legacy of love will live on and on, and she will always lovingly be remembered, and never, ever forgotten.   


  1. I've spent the entire afternoon with you...reading your blog posts oldest to between taking care of my 74 yo mother who has ALZ(Mom has not known who we are for almost a year now...many days she likes me...I try to forget the rough days quickly). What a journey! I have 2 near and one far who are not involved in Mom's care...Mom and Dad(when they moved here to our home 14 years ago chose that I would make decisions for them when they could not do it any longer) Mom was an only child and said she liked it that way because she was in charge of caring for her Grandmother and Mother and did not have to ask anyone else what they thought. Since I have the full care of Mom now that Daddy has headed to heaven, I do not run anything by my siblings...I only have to follow the instructions that Mom left me with. My near sibling avoided seeing Mom except one time in the two years since she got ALZ. He did help two times since Daddy died this past summer. My away sib/sis has not seen Mom in many years(8 years). BIG blow up after Dad's death with away sib(I think it was rooted in their need for $)...working at mending relationships...trauma and crisis bring out the worst/best in people depending on their character. We were very close as youngsters but have not been friends since adults due to very different lifestyles and choices. Thankfully have many awesome friends and immediate family. My parents were generous with their love and we are passing on that legacy to those in our life! Praying for you and yours! PS---We have 7 offspring(30 yo to 14 yo) I told them if Daddy or me needs care, they can have us for 7.4 weeks each year...if one of them does not/can not take their time, they can pay another agreeing sib to take their the going nursing home rate that will be GOOD money! ;) Since my sibs don't help with time or money, it seems a great solution to me!!! God bless us everyone!

  2. Hi! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog from beginning to the present time. I went to your blog to follow it and saw that you haven't been using it anymore. It isn't as easy to follow a blog as it used to be when you could click 'follow' on the top left of the page. I've noticed I don't get many followers signed up because that follow button isn't there anymore. Anyway, I very much appreciate you reading and commenting on a few of my posts. If you give me your email, maybe we can keep in touch that way.. Mine is Like you, I do have my kids and close friends for support and someone to talk to and lean on when I need it. We have to have comfort and understanding because this is one of the hardest things to deal with in life, as you know. Please keep in touch, I'd like to do that with you. God bless...Lizzie

  3. Boy... I laughed, then cried, then laughed, then cried while reading this. So many good memories. She is such a huge part of my life. If only I could reverse time.... I know you probably say that every day :o(.