Family Love and Memories…

21 Oct

Today marks the 100th birthday of my dad’s mother.  In my family she is known as Mam-maw (I’m writing it out so you can figure out how it sounds).  I know she won’t see this posting but Robert and Gladys Bainit is on my heart today to share some of my memories of Mam-maw and to think about what we pass down in families.   She had my Uncle Robert before she was 20 and she did not have my dad until 17 years later.  She did have one baby who died in childbirth between my dad and my uncle.  This photo is one of my favorites of my grandmother though it was taken before even my father was born. The photo is special to me because I can tell that my uncle is loved by my grandmother because she has her arms around him and he is leaning back on her.  His mouth is open wide and he looks like they have been playing together.

My best memories of my grandmother are of her playing with me so that is probably another reason I love this photo.  She taught me to be fascinated with catalogs (endless hours of fun!) and writing.  She loved letters from family members and friends and she also loved to write notes in her Bibles about the sermon or what was going on in her life.  She taught me how to braid leaves and flowers into bracelets, necklaces and wreathes for my hair.  She tried to plait a little of my short, fine hair sometimes when I was little while we were swinging on the front porch swing.  Biscuits…yum!  There  were always some to eat when I came over to her house (next door to ours) as a little girl and I honestly have not tasted a biscuit just like hers since she stopped cooking as much after my grandfather’s death over 20 years ago.  She’d sing hymns to me even though she wasn’t a great singer and some of them will conjure memories of her to this day when I hear them.   In her bedroom, she had an old cedar chest full of family photos and letters and I spent many a day poring over the photos and hearing her identify the relatives and friends in every one.  I remember stories she told of growing up and of our family.

She has been traveling farther and farther away from us each year since my grandfather’s death.  Dementia has robbed her of the ability to have conversations and she hasn’t much to occupy her time these days.  Sometimes her memories of the past get all tangled up in the present and it can break your heart to hear her.

If anyone is still reading by this point, I want to encourage you to think today about the memories you treasure from loved ones…Think with me about what you are excited to share with your children…Today as I think about my grandmother, I am dreaming also of what I have to pass on to our children…Yes, I know I will make mistakes but today I am dwelling on my hopes and dreams for our children…the traditions and faith and the love that I long to share with them.  I look forward to holding Colin and my future child or children in my arms…I want to spend time playing and just enjoying them and not get too hung up on mistakes they make…I want to extend grace to them just as I believe Jesus extends grace to us…I want to enjoy making special food memories for our children and intermingling old and new traditions in our family.  And stories…I can’t wait to read books and tell stories to Colin! 

Colin, There will be lots of songs and hugs and love and even silliness, I promise, Baby Boy!  When you join our family, you will inherit a legacy of love and faith that is priceless.  Just know your Mama and Papa are praying to return to you soon though the world says the odds are not in our favor.  We believe that God will take care of us while we are apart and He will wonderfully orchestrate it so we can be together again.  Love, Mama

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2 Responses to “Family Love and Memories…”

  1. Jennifer October 21, 2008 at 8:04 pm #

    It can be so easy to not extend grace to your kids and remember to make time for silly, funny, good moments. I am working on that right now.

    Thank you for the reminder that they will remember those special times and how important they are.

  2. Michelle October 21, 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    I love looking at old photos like that.

    When I first glanced at the picture I thought of your grandma being you and your uncle being Colin. And in 80+ years your granddaughter looking and that photo and thinking of her fond memories of you and Colins story.

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