meet me mondays | on growing up with grandparents

Monday, March 31, 2021

Seeing as this is the last Monday of the month and I haven't shared a "Meet Me Monday" since February, I wanted to do a short post before the clock strikes midnight. This month's Meet Me Monday will be focused on my experience growing up with my (maternal) grandparents.

I started this series -- Meet Me Mondays -- to share a little bit more about myself with my readers on a regular basis. The blogs I connect the most with are those in which I am learning about the blogger behind the screen, behind the words through the posts. I am so grateful to say that out of last month's Meet Me Mondays (On Being a Night Owl), I connected with a beautiful mama and have made a wonderful friend. It is so wonderful to see how God moves other women -- especially wives and moms who I have so much in common with -- into my life, even through my blog! What a blessing!

When people share about their childhood, I am always intrigued. I love to hear about a person's favorite memories, the sights & sounds they recall from their earliest years, the description of their first home, and what impacted them the most growing up. For me, I recall sights of a Scrabble board on the dining room table, vintage orange tile in the bathroom, and stacks of old newspapers on the counter. I think of the smells of air popped popcorn at night, fish frying on the stove for dinner and a wood burning fireplace in the den. As a little girl, familiar sounds were my grandfather playing the piano or ukelele and singing hymns, my grandmother's radio program over the lunch hour, and a PBS nature special in the background. 

My childhood was much different than most, but infinitely more perfect than I could have ever asked for.

I grew up living with my maternal Grandparents -- Milan and Beatrice. My grandfather came over from Czechoslovakia at age 17 on a boat. He never had a middle name. My grandma Beatrice was born in Ely, MN and has 100% Finnish roots. 

Most simply put, my parents purchased land in southern MN before I was born in 1989 for my dad to start his farm and business. My mom worked full time in the cities and after I was born, she went back to working while my dad launched his new business endeavor. She has now been at her company 35+ years! and my Dad is running his business 24 years strong! Because of the circumstances, we were so fortunate to live with my mom's parents and I was beyond blessed to have my grandma and grandpa as my primary caregivers during the day, every day, for 13 years!

Every wonderful memory I have of my childhood stems from living with my grandparents. The knowledge I acquired -- even as a baby and young girl -- because of their incredible wisdom and insight -- was unbelievable. The examples of faith, patience and love I witnessed -- unforgettable. Both my grandma and grandpa were pillars for my own faith because of how they lived their lives. I lived with them from 1990 (from birth) through 2003 (age 13). In 2003, my parents bought their own house and we moved out. Thankfully, our new house was only minutes away from where all my childhood memories were made. 

We lived in a cul-de-sac on a quiet street in a peaceful neighborhood, which all was a total dream. I loved learning to ride my bike there and play with chalk on the blacktop. There were always trees for shade, flowers to pick and leaves to rake in autumn. We had a beautiful second-story deck overlooking an enormous backyard, filled with edible treasures from my grandpa's garden. Most famous were his raspberry bushes. Every summer we would spend hot afternoons picking berries together, sweating from the sun and filling our bellies with the juiciest gems that summer had to offer. For weeks on end each summer, we would have bowls and bowls of raspberries all over the house to snack on. I would sit on the deck under the umbrella watching my grandfather mow the endless lawn in his white t-shirt and jeans. I loved sneaking down to the basement and burrowing through his workroom -- filled with his tools and wood for making furniture. He was the most talented carpenter -- able to bring any vision to life and create a work of art out of a pile of wood.

Every day, from the time I was in kindergarten to 8th grade, my grandpa would drive me to school and pick me up in his pick-up truck, filled with his fishing gear and furniture making supplies. After school he would cut me a pear and sit with me while I ate it. Grandma taught me to read and play Scrabble; in the afternoons, she baked with me and let me lick the spatula (and then the bowl). In the mornings Grandma would make me french toast on her countertop griddle, always warning me not to touch it because of how hot it became. She mastered the art of macaroni-and-cheese-making for my favorite lunch and always had a pint of maple nut icecream in her freezer. We went to Baker's Square multiple times a week for lunch and pie. She always ordered chili. I always ordered chicken strips. We sat and talked, I colored, we laughed endlessly together, always. Her sense of humor and witty sayings hold such a special place in my heart. 

Through Grandma Bea and Grandpa Milan, I learned so much about life, love, and the virtues + values that are most important. My outlook and thought processes were shaped in those 13 years and Bea and Milan will forever be two of the most influential people in my life, for so many reasons. I even have four tattoos for them -- two for my grandma and two for my grandpa, and while my Grandpa went Home in 2007 (and is probably fishing as we speak), Grandma Bea is still alive at 86 years old, wittier than ever. She has absolutely fallen in love with Olivia and watched as I experience motherhood for the first time. She always has something to say, no matter the subject, and two of her favorite expressions are "Wunderbar" and "Oh, for cute." 

God gave me the very best when he gave me Grandma Bea and Grandpa Milan. And of course, it was only natural that Olivia's middle name would be after my Grandma, her Great Grandma, just like my middle name is after my Great Grandma. 

Growing up with my grandparents is in the top 10 experiences of my entire life, and I know no matter what I experience, it will always remain there. I feel a closeness to them in a special way I don't feel a closeness to anyone else in the whole world. A different connection than I've ever experienced before with anyone else.  And because of that, I wouldn't have had my childhood any other way. 

1 comment :

  1. Oh my gosh. I love this. I wish that I had a relationship like this with my grandparents. But I love knowing that Sydney will be able to because we live in the same house as her grandma.


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