I don’t know. It’s the most curious thing, that one. Ever since I lived in Asia, but especially during my time in Thailand as a new wife trying to make a home for a budding family, I discovered that I didn’t know a whole lot about it! I often called my mom to vent. I often asked older friends for cooking tips. I often browsed the internet for cleaning tips and ideas. But most of the time, I just had to figure things out myself.
And during those long evenings pressing homemade tortillas with my fingers because I didn’t have a rolling pin, then washing the dinner dishes by hand (no dishwasher) shortly before bringing my laundry in from outside (you guessed it) I had a lot of time to think about things. And I often found my mind wandering back to my grandma and the life she lived circa 1919.
Necessity is the mother of invention and while inventions are nice, I love the creativity and mystery that comes with having a necessity and trying to figure out how to meet it yourself. Many times I caught myself thinking that if those “pioneer women” could do it, so could I.
I was also learning from my surroundings. Much of our missions work in Thailand was with a tribe of what we may consider rather primitive people. Poor, as much of the world sees it. Yet rich in so many other ways. They lived in stilted bamboo huts. They carried their babies in slings on their backs… while working long days in the rice fields. They walked along rocky roads and mountain paths barefoot. Their children played in the dirt with the dogs and in the village water pump that served for cooking… and bathing. By God, if they could do it, so could I.
Above all else, in my musings, though, I found myself thinking about my grandma. Now, mind you, when it comes to grandparents I am a very blessed woman. One set was divorced, so I was privileged to have SIX grandparents growing up, and numerically I still have 5 remaining. FIVE! How many thirty-something-year-olds can say that? I love my grandparents.
But in reality I really only have 3 that I can still glean wisdom and spoilage off of. C’mon… I can say that. Grandparents are created for spoiling grandchildren no matter how old they get! After my grandpa passed away several years ago, my step-grandma (technically) moved and I don’t have a lot of contact with her. So that’s really two-down.
Sadly, while I was busy away at college doing academic growing up things, one grandma (probably the one I was closest too, just because she’s the one I spent the most time with) went into a nursing home with dimentia and has never been the same since. It was a slow decline that most of us were too busy to see until one day it was too late. Her once pristine house was in disarray. She could no longer remember how to cook, so they ate out every meal. Her memory of people and faces came and went until she was left only angrily crying out from a lawn chair in the yard that she wanted “her man.” Where was “her man?” And when we realized that we had lost her none of us were ready.
She is the one that the majority of these posts will be about. And when I think back to yesterday- while many people will contribute to my words- it is her face I will see in my heart.
[pictured above: Lough Leane, Ireland. No doubt the origin of my grandma’s Irish-inspired name. Pronounced: Lee-aine]