Throughout the month of July I participated in a photo challenge on Instagram. It was a fun experiment to see if I could even keep something up for 31 days and I’m proud to say I posted every single day. Some posts were a bit of a stretch, but some were really fun. I mean c’mon, it had celeb crush, man crush, and woman crush all on there. It got downright repetitive at times.
I think my favorite was Day 29: Role Model. I have quite a few role models, but my supreme role model was my grandmother, my Mommy Too Too. She’s only been gone a little over two years, but at times it seems like so much more. Then at other times it seems like just yesterday she called to ask if she could borrow my three-hole punch I’d accidentally left in my room at her house. I can’t change shampoos even though I don’t love it any more because the scent is her and I can’t bare to lose that.
Mommy Too Too was so much more than my grandmother. She was my teacher, my friend, my conscience, and my many times my mother. She was the soul of our family and the most magnificent woman.
My own mom and I have had a relationship that has been very difficult at times. For most of my life my grandmother was never more than a phone call away and when things got really bad never more than a car ride away. She was the first person I called after the ambulance left with my dad. She drove all the way down to Kentucky one weekend while I was a camp counselor because my mom was sick and couldn’t, just so I could have a few hours off-camp. She was the one who took me to college orientation. It was Mommy Too Too and my grandfather who moved me into Hiram.
She was so prim, proper, and philanthropic that you would have thought she grew up with a silver spoon. In fact it was quite the opposite. Her own mother died in childbirth and she grew up incredibly poor. I think one of my cousins told me that she had said she had to share a bed with her aunt at times growing up. I can’t even imagine what that would be like. I remember her telling me how excited she was to learn to drive at a time when many women didn’t and to buy her own car.
Her compassion knew no bounds. She was a part of so many great projects in the Buffalo area, including co-chairing the inaugural Decorators’ Showhouse at the Larkin House. If it could help children, she wanted to do it.
One of her favorite things was to go to the bakery with her friends. If I was in Buffalo I was sure to go with her…really any time I was in Buffalo I was practically her shadow. I loved hearing their stories while munching on cookies. I can still picture them sitting there talking and drinking coffee.
I learned so much from her, but really it boils down to trying to be the best person you can be. Take the time to be gracious and try to always do the right thing. And of course pepper in some art if you can. Whenever I see a work by Monet I think of her. I think of her love for Monet and his gardens. I think of how excited she was to see them in person all those years ago. I really wish I could hear about her travels to Europe again. As a kid I appreciated them as I could, but now I think I would get so much more out of her stories.
I wish with all my heart she had been able to travel for my wedding and that she had been able to meet Keely. One of the earliest impressions I had of Keely was that there was something reminiscent of Mommy Too Too. It was just this immediate feeling. I take comfort in the fact that at last my Mommy Too Too has gotten meet her own mother. It’s really the only thing that has dulled any of the pain of losing this amazing woman.