Saying Goodbye to my Beautiful Grandma Gotta

 

I apologize for my silence this past week. Last Wednesday I received the sort of phone call you never hope to answer. And my world stopped. I rushed home in time to have three final days with my dear, precious Grandma before she went to Heaven. These left few days have left me numb, hurt and sad, but finally, last night I was able to put words down on paper and the process was immeasurably cathartic. If you like, here’s why my Grandma Gotta was so indelibly special to me:

grandma

When I think of my Grandmother Fern Ann I can’t help but feel warmth, comfort and remarkable joy. Joy strong enough to lift my heavy heart as I remember the gentle force of her presence. Her blonde curls, sparkling blue eyes and quiet step. Her enviable beauty mark and her genuine smile which could brighten the darkest room. Some say we bear a resemblance (the greatest compliment I’ve ever been given) and I can only hope to grow in beauty like she did.

As a shy and quiet child, trips to Grandpa and Grandma’s were a special treat; a time where I felt more like a woodland sprite than a little girl who still wet the bed. After a day of swimming in the blue-green water, catching minnows and maybe a sunburn, Grandma would wrap Maria and me in towels and take us up to the bathtub to get clean. Sudsy, sleepy and wholly content I’d trace the blue-tiled walls with my wrinkled fingers, not fully aware of just how preciously I was cared for. Next, it was time for stories and, dressed in our favorite nightgowns with our hair still damp, Grandma would read us stories in her soft, crackling lilt. I’d choose the same stories again and again—The Town and Country Mouse and The Three Little Kittens—but Grandma never seemed the least bit impatient or hurried.

When I think of Grandma, the aroma of fresh from the oven blueberry muffins fills the air and I can easily picture her precisely-set table. The blue-rimmed plates resting in perfect symmetry, the blinds open to views of her beloved garden and the green sweep of the yard. The delicious sense of anticipation as we waited for the bountiful feast she had so lovingly prepared.

When I think of Grandma, twenty-five years of birthdays, Christmases and football games come to mind, blurring into an almost indescribable feeling of lightness. Born two days and 58 years apart, Grandma and I would celebrate our birthdays together, sitting side by side, blowing out our birthday candles with expectation for what could only be a golden year ahead. Septembers with Grandma always felt rich and full. With football games starting and Gotta birthday parties peaking, we’d knew we’d see lots of each other. A happy secret we shared with relish.

grandma and me
I wish I could bottle the tangible magic of Christmases on Pelican. The glory of Grandma’s tree, bedecked with the shine of precious ornaments and silvery tinsel, filled the whole upstairs in beauty. The tenderly-wrapped presents were always almost too pretty to open, but I managed somehow and always opened exactly what I had hoped for.

Above all, when I think of Grandma, I think of a woman with a servant’s heart, endless love and the self-confidence to live her best life. She knew the elusive, rare art of living well and shared it with her family and loved ones in great abundance. She understood that the little things are the big things—the perfect slice of blueberry pie on a hot July day, hours in the garden pulling weeds to let her marvelous snapdragons grow; the thrill of a new dress and, most importantly to her, the weighty love of the handsome husband beside her.

Anyone who knows my Grandma knows she was an excellent cook and gifted gardener, but what I hope most to emulate is her joie di vivre. Grandma was interested in my life, in all her grandkids’ lives. She was never less than present, engaged and interested. She made me feel important and valuable. She knew that life could be beautiful and fascinating and hard and she never shied away from it. Many people would call my Grandmother busy and, active though she was, she was never less than generous with her time. Whether enjoying a cup of coffee together or drinking in sunshine on the porch, time with Grandma had a limitless, expansive quality. She was as efficient and studious as they come, yet lavishly gave of her time.

May 10th, 2014 was, to my earthly wishes, much too soon to say goodbye, but I know that the richness and depth of Grandma’s legacy will make the difficult days and weeks ahead easier to bear. I know she has already found a patch of land in Heaven and is rolling up her sleeves to create a garden that, like her legacy, will never fade.

Thank you for listening, everyone. 

Happy Friday

colorWe made it through the week, everyone. It was a good one, but who isn’t always ready for Friday? Do you have many plans? B’s brother from California is flying in tonight and his parents are driving up tomorrow. We’ll all be attending the Bash4Guild event to support a great nonprofit committed to those struggling with mental illness. Those of you in the Twin Cities area, do come! It’s co-hosted by a friend of ours and is sure to be lots of fun.

Other than that, I’m starting to plan my sister’s bachelorette party! She’s been so stressed with planning her August wedding and I want to make sure she has one weekend where she can simply kick-back.

I hope you all have a great one and here’s some clever links from across the web…
Cute, easy and attractive kitchen art.

70 (!) cheap or free date ideas.

Yes, please!

You’re going to love this home tour (just wait for the shoe closest!)

The story behind this intriguing new movie.

A thoughtful essay on deep, consuming love.

I wish I could get to this exhibit at the V&A.

Until Monday!

xo, Em

Picture courtesy of bien.tumblr

Color Crush: Emerald + Gold

I’ve been toying with the idea of new furniture for ages, specifically a tufted sofa and fun accent chairs. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the brown leather we currently have, but with just about everything in our apartment hailing from B’s parents or his bachelor days, the apartment doesn’t always feel like ours. While getting a couple new pieces isn’t top priority right now (especially with a possible trip to Europe next year!), you’d think finding the perfect sofa was my part-time job for how much time I spend looking!

I’m glad, however, that I’ve taken my time because, just in the last year, my tastes have changed. I use to want a grey tufted sofa (and given B’ love of neutrals, grey it will probably be), but lately, I’ve been smitten with the idea of a luxe emerald green sofa. It would add such richness to a white room and with gold accents, just think of the warmth! Bohemian yet still very grounded.

green1

 

green2

green3What do you think of this color combo? Any ideas on how to persudae a conventional husband that it’s quite easy being green?

Photos: one, two, three

Our Easter Celebrations

Hello, everyone! How was your Easter? Did you spend good time with family or friends?  B and I had a really fun Easter weekend in Fargo. Lots of delicious food and time with my favorite little people. The only downside was that the time just flew by! Even for being a three day weekend!

I’ll be following this post up with the usual Travel Mondays, but wanted to share a few photos from our Easter Sunday:

Post Easter-candy silliness (Gigi on the L, Nanie R)

Post Easter-candy silliness (Gigi on the L, Nanie R)

Even Winston got in on the Easter hunt goodies.

Even Winston got in on the Easter hunt goodies.

"Audrey, stop wunnin' away! You're too yiddle to pay by yoself."

“Audrey, stop wunnin’ away! You’re too yiddle to pay by yoself.”

Little Sophie was quite unprepared for keeping up with Jackson, Nanie and Gigi's egg hunting skills.

Little Sophie was quite unprepared for keeping up with Jackson, Nanie and Gigi’s egg hunting skills.

So much sunshine!

So much sunshine!

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen!” Luke 24:5-6

Back from Mexico

Always so sweet coming home to Audrey

Always so sweet coming home to Audrey

Good morning, everyone! So sorry for not posting yesterday. Our flight didn’t get in until after midnight on Sunday and it was all I could do to get through the day yesterday. All of my photos are still on my camera, but I will be posting them this week. We had a wonderful week in San Jose (my first ever time in Mexico!) and I even turned a little golden. The last time B and I went anywhere for a full week was our honeymoon, so it was such a treat to have seven days of ocean-side views, warmth and good food.

It also struck me how healthy it is to truly get away. I didn’t even turn my phone on until we were home and a technology-free week in and of itself was a vacation. Exploring artsy San Jose also got me and B talking about our next trip…travel is wholly addictive. We’ve decided to really start saving and make a fall 2015 trip to Europe happen (!!). Take two weeks off from work to see as much as we can (so far Scotland and Switzerland are at the top of our itinerary).

I absolutely indulged in a few good novels while away (Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, Z by Theresa Anne Fowler and an Agatha Christie (!)), so I’m also looking forward to sharing reviews this week and next.

It’s good  to be home, though, and I’m thankful for that. X