Friday, April 8, 2011

grandma's birthday

A sign that Poppie made which hung over their garage for as long as I can remember.
My grandmother was an amazing woman. She was strong, sassy, opinionated, a reader, explorer, encourager, thoughtful, funny, caring, cross word enthusiast, loving... the list goes on. One of the best things that my grandmother, Patricia Jean Ambrose, ever did was start the amazing family that I am so lucky to be a part of. When she passed away a couple days before Christmas we were all devastated. She was our leader and the hub around which our family circled. Luckily, the family she grew was as strong as she.
Grandma always described her kitchen as a "2 butt kitchen"... more than 2 people was just too crowded.

The week of her service we all gathered in her lovely home, all decorated for Christmas still, and spent the most wonderful evening together talking, remembering, crying, laughing and truly loving each other. We played the dice game. It is basically a white elephant gift exchange type game that involves rolling dice, a timer and stealing before things are unwrapped. A family tradition. So much fun.
The tree along with a small stack of quilts my grandma made.
After all of this we started to take down the Christmas decorations as a family. As we did we all started collecting little (and sometimes not so little) piles of favorite ornaments and decorations that we would get to take home with us and integrate into our collections. Next Christmas will be difficult without my grandparents and without their home to gather in, but I do look forward to hanging those ornaments in my home and finding spots for the items that my grandma always took such pride and joy in.
Cousins love
Once the decorations were down, the boys all hung out in the living room while the girls (me, my sister Katie, my cousin Lauren, my mom Nancy, and my Aunt Mimi) met in the back bathroom. My grandpa used to buy my grandma pearls. Almost every year he would get her another necklace for Christmas. He would put the item in a small container and then hide it somewhere in the house, usually in plain sight, and drive my grandma crazy telling her that she could see it if only she'd look around. Well, we knew where the stash was. Carefully we took out the precious box and pulled out treasure after treasure as though we were archaeologists handling relics centuries old. We looked at them all, tried them on, and then took turns picking out necklaces that we would be allowed to keep. We each wore one to the service the following day. We also took turns trying on her wedding ring. Their were many tears shed as memories were shared and created at the same time.
 Today my grandma would have been 84. I miss her a lot but know that she and her love, my Poppie, are finally together again. They are probably playing gin. He'll probably let the birthday girl win.
All of us at a family trip to Catalina Island in 2003 for Poppie and Grandma's 50th wedding anniversary. They are the two in the lovely hats... I am disguised as a girl with black hair.

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