Wednesday, March 15, 2017


I grew up in the same small town that my parents grew up in southeast Kansas. I grew up with both sets of my grandparents living in walking distance or, if you were lucky and your dad had borrowed the John Deere riding mower from his parents, mower-riding distance.

A good chunk of my aunts and uncles and cousins lived nearby as well so seeing them at least once a week was not out of the norm.

When we were sick, my grandma Dean would watch us. We had a weekly dinner at my Grams and Papps's house (and watched a lot of "Hee Haw" and "Lawrence Welk" where my brother and I would dance to the LW band in front of the TV in the basement).

Me and my Grams! 
When we played basketball (I use the term "we" loosely, as my brother and sister played a lot, while I 'played'), my Grams and Papps had front row seats nearest to the door so my Papps could get out to the car easily, but they were always there. As some health issues arose for my Papps, he and Grams would sit in my uncles truck and watch football games from the other side of the field. I remember walking over to see them after I won Homecoming Queen (you know this whole post was based on the fact that I could say that line out loud - HA!).

Stopped to see Grams and Papps before my senior prom -- I don't know where my grin comes from. :) 

I can still hear my Grandpa Bob's voice, calling for my mom. "Mary Annie!"

I bring this all up to serve as a reminder to myself (and to my brother and sister as well) of how incredibly lucky I was (we were) to have known my grandparents when I did and to have lived my childhood with them down the street.

My grandma Dean, grandpa Bob, mom and me at my First Communion
We never knew life any differently. We knew that Grams made the best pancakes and grandma Dean made the best eggs. My Grams could make a killer milkshake. My grandma Dean brought Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds into our lives.

My Papps LOVED for us to be around. He had a stroke before I was born, so I never knew him before and there most of the time there was a good chance I didn't know WHAT he was talking about (the adults did) but knew his phrases. He was very consistent.

"So damn proud of you!"

"Love you soooooo much!" Followed by the hardest half bear hug (one arm was in a sling) you can imagine.


Me and my Papps
I texted my aunt Sally - my dad's baby sister - this morning to tell her I was singing "You Are My Sunshine" to Tess last night and teared up. My Grams used to sing this to all of us when we were little. We'd sit in her lap, she'd grab your hands and play the faux piano as she sang this song.

It was her song.

And as I was singing it to Tess last night, I knew my Grams was right there with me, smiling as we sang.  I can only imagine how much she would have loved all of these babies and how entertained she and Papps would be by Sloane and Reece!

My family spends a lot of time traveling to see my parents and siblings and Matt's parents and his brother.

As you can see, I grew up surrounded by family. They were a large part of my life so I do not know any differently. And right now, we live close enough that we can get to everyone. So we do it.

Does traveling get old? Yes.

But will I keep doing it? Yes. Because I want my kids to be around family. I want them to always be excited to see their grandparents and aunts and uncles. I want them to be with and play with their cousins. I want them to know that we are their parents, but these people will be in their lives and love them forever.

I grew up with wonderful people and I do not take that time I had with them for granted. And maybe I hope that in 30 years, my kids are able to sit around the dining room table together and laugh and cry about all of the wonderful stories they have from their childhood with their family!

Because there is nothing better for the soul than a good, hard laugh and cry about wonderful memories.


1 comment :

  1. This got to me a little: so many of your memories were identical to mine! Going to see them before prom, having a weekly dinner date ... we were very blessed!


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