A WONDERFUL GIFT- Melisa Shreve

I cherish the memories I have of my grandparents. I often find myself traveling back in time longing for just one More moment, one more, “I love you”, one last kiss, one more hug. In my mind’s eye I’m in the kitchen learning from well worn Hands how to cook a roast beef and make the perfect deviled eggs. I’m sitting at the table eating the best homemade chocolate meringue Pie I’ve ever eaten and eating it until my stomach hurts. I’m Playing Wa-hoo or Skip-Bo, laughing at funny stories until my sides Ache and rarely winning the competitive game at hand. I’m taking Bubble baths in a sunken tub — sometimes 3 of them in one day! I’m sitting under the awning in the backyard, swinging and Enjoying a nice summer day, watching the dog chase his tail, talking About family that have long passed. I’m studying my grandmother’s Face in the bathroom mirror watching as she meticulously puts on her Make-up and wonder how she can make perfect eyebrows with her skinny Eyebrow pencil and wonder still why it takes so long for one person To get ready just for a quick run into town. I’m helping her make the bed and learning how to do it just Right. I’m listening to her yodel in the car and I try not to laugh. I’m in the kitchen washing her hair, giving her a perm, and wonder How she can stand my rarely tested “beauty shop” efforts. I’m secretly digging through the drawers in her bathroom until I Find her wrinkle and freckle creams, and I put them on my freckled Face, hoping one day I will be as beautiful as she is. I put drops Of her perfume on my neck because she smells better than anyone I’ve Ever known. Although, I would guess she always knew what I was up To, she never said a word. I see myself outside turning cartwheels in the grass and I’m Admiring a perfectly manicured lawn. I’m spending the dollar my papa Gave me on nothing but candy. I’m chasing butterflies in their Flower garden, without a care in the world, knowing all the while I’m Forever loved through their words, actions, and yes even discipline. As my children come into the world, I joyously see the love my Grandparents give them. I am amazed at my grandparents’ patience With my children as they crawl up in the middle of their dining room Table and eat my grandmother’s homemade hot sauce or dig into their Closet to walk around in shoes that are much too big. But, instead Of a scolding, it’s a laugh and a hug — memories to be tucked away And talked about again and again. I’m watching them grow older and more frail now, and I know one Day I will have to face life without them and I don’t want to go There. Not today. So I crawl up in their king-sized bed just to Snuggle one last time, because I know the time is coming and nothing Can prepare me for the grief that is ahead. I study the lines on their faces and memorize the look of their Sweet wrinkled hands because one day I will want to remember and Never forget those wonderful faces, those precious voices, those Sweet kisses, those tender hands. I will want to relive the memories And I often do. Traveling back in time is a bittersweet experience, because Taking that wonderful walk through my past always leads me to the Painful reality that those days are forever gone. I can’t physically Go back there. It’s a journey of my heart and in my mind. It’s not A place where I can live, but a wonderful place to visit and remember — a sweet sanctuary. A place of joy and unconditional love. God has given us a wonderful gift called memories. We make them And then we can travel back in time and visit those places of joy and Relive them again and again. It can be an escape from a cruel world And sometimes it’s a path of healing as we grieve our loved ones and Remember the sweet times we’ve had together. Sometimes we can even find forgiveness there. It’s a place, Lord willing, that I am creating and will create for my children and Grandchildren one day. So I thank you God, for the gift of my grandparents. I thank You for the lessons they have taught me, the love they have given me And my family, and their memory that will stay in my heart forever. — Melisa Shreve

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