Gin & Zin

Memoirs of a Grandmother

We’ve been going through my amazing grandmother’s belongings over the last few months. She is still with us, but we haven’t made an effort to go through her paperwork in a while. I came across an old journal that has possibly changed my path, in the 30 minutes it took to read it.

It was a rainy afternoon, and I decided it was a good time to read the journal. I came across it when going through other paperwork and thought it may take a bit to peruse. I put it in our safe to come back to at a later date.

A month passed.

The kids and I were having a home day, and Chris was away at work. It was cloudy outside, I had made some amazing grain free cookies and chai tea. The kids were dancing to kidz bop videos, so I took my window to grab the journal from safekeeping, and slink into a chair with my treats.

I immediately became lost in the life story of my grandmother. She walked me through her whole life, from being married at 18, to their first home, her pregnancy loss, her three children, their move across the US to California, and then their lives, their children’s lives, and so on… All through her eyes and words. In her writing. It was pretty much one of the best afternoons I’ve had.

I just read a sweet comment from another writing nostalgic mama, referencing the need to journal as well. Photos, blogging, and baby books aren’t enough for me, and I’m guessing neither for her as well. I’ve always kept a journal, some safe place to scribble what you did that day, what was making you sad or crazy or mad or happy.

After reading this account of my grandmother’s last 60+ years (she started her writing after she was married) I immediately wanted to return it, gently and swiftly to the safe. I treasure her so, and her written words.

She described most things by her happiness. For example,”We loved living in Carmichael, we were all happy there.” She went on to describe enjoying having the house where all the kids gathered, but also that she felt that those years were very loud, full, and a bit busy of a pace for her.

She described a growing family, and losses as she got older. Some of her biggest heartaches were having distance from family members, or losing them.

She knew what she wanted, and she seemed to have it. I’m so grateful to have had so much time with her (she’s 85 now), and my kids will have many memories of her and with her. Her writings highlighted the beauty in simplicity, in making clear cut choices in life. I’ve admired her for that for years, but so much more now. I love her for using her heart as her only compass.

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