Today is my mother’s mother’s birthday. I like to remember the people who were close to me on their birthdays. And so, I’m remembering Lillian Capps today. She was born in 1886 and lived 92 years.
Grandmothers come in all sorts, some are delighted when the new generation arrives… others, not so much. I had one grandmother who delighted in me as a child, smothered me with affection, and loved spending time with me.
My other one didn’t.
But, love has many facets. Some people show affection easily… others don’t. Some people like you, and others don’t. Love is caring and it is possible to love someone you don’t especially like. My mother’s mother didn’t like young children all that much. I was the first in my generation, and she wasn’t ready to be a grandmother. In fact, I think she detested being called any term related to that stage of life. (This blog is not going to be all negative or disrespectful to my mother’s mother. I promise to pull it out.)
My mother’s mother preferred to be called Booger. And so, that’s what I called her all the days of her life, and so did my siblings and cousins. She acquired this nickname when my mother was a child, Mama gave it to her. Mama told me that when she was little, people often referred to her as You Little Booger (could have been her older sisters). Anyway, she thought it was a term of endearment and started calling her mother, Booger. The name stuck… Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain why I called my mother’s mother Booger instead of the name that most women consider the crowning glory of motherhood.
I do not remember Booger ever holding me, playing with me, or showing any form of affection when I was a child. When we came to visit, I had to sit on my hands on the window-seat… and not move.
Booger didn’t not approve of my mother and father’s marriage, and I was a result of that union. Mama hoped someday Booger would feel okay towards me. And, eventually she did… after I married and moved away. When I came home for a visit, she was always glad to see me and greeted me with a hug, kiss on the cheek, and a smile that lit up her eyes. And when I began to write, she was pleased.
Over the years, she had more to offer than affection. She was an artist with a degree in art from Baylor University. And she loved to garden. She arranged flowers and made corsages. She had an extensive library in her home that was open to me. So, I watched Booger paint and learned from her. I watched her garden, and learned from her. I read her books and loved them… everything about them. She had sets of classics bound in leather. I loved to run my fingers over the spines and fondle the pages.
She introduced me to the beauty of nature and fostered my creativity. I know enough about art to enjoy drawing and painting. I know enough about gardening to enjoy plants and flowers. I can arrange bouquets and make corsages. And, I love books, touching them, reading, them, and writing them. The affection I received from my other grandmother lives on in sweet memories, but I put Booger’s legacy to use every day…
Grandmothers come in all sorts. And the gifts they give their grandchildren are uniquely individual and priceless.