I have so many happy childhood memories of spending time with my grandmother, making pies in the kitchen and tagging along on her weekly trips to the beauty shop. 


My grandmother (my Nana) used to be so protective of me that she would line the pillow-laden dining room chairs along the edge of the sofa to ensure that I didn’t fall to my death in the middle of the night during sleep-overs.  She would sit next to me on that same sofa and feed me orange slices and strawberries dipped in powdered sugar, and let me dig through her old chest to adorn myself in her treasure trove of costume jewelry.  Shopping with Nana was a little girl’s dream, and Christmas has always been magical, with a ridiculous number of presents under the tree with my name on them.

My grandparents were avid travelers for as long as I can remember, and I spent countless hours looking at photos and listening to stories of their adventures.  While my grandmother has always been very soft-hearted and gentle, my grandfather was the epitome of the strong, silent type.  Despite being 80 years old, he is rarely ill, and is up at the crack of dawn to head down the road to the coffee shop where he chats with all of the other older gentlemen from the neighborhood.

Watching your parents and grandparents age is very hard.  While it seems like only yesterday that I was trailing my grandmother through Colbert’s Department Store… it wasn’t yesterday.  In fact, the last time that I did that was (gulp) 25 years ago!  Today, I barely recognize the Nana that I used to know.  I watch her frail frame balancing perilously over her walker as she makes her way across the living room in the home that she rarely leaves, and long for the days when she was ready at a moment’s notice to hop into the motor home for a road trip across the country.   Today, her memory is fading and her stories are few and far between.  My grandfather’s health is declining as well; in fact, next week he will undergo surgery to have one cancerous kidney removed.  It is a strange experience to see my sturdy, unwavering grandfather lying in a hospital bed, in such a vulnerable state, and to see my sweet grandmother who was always so active, struggling to make it from the couch to the restroom.  As I watch them transitioning into this new stage of life, I find myself grateful for the lessons that my grandparents have taught me, and praying for more time to ask all of those unanswered questions.