25 March 2014

Meme 06 From Michelle 2-17

She asked me if I was going to write about the party.  I don’t know that she really gets what I do, but she always hears from my aunts or my mom when I write about her. 

Which reminds me, ahem, snitches get stiches.

“You wrote out the beef stew recipe?  I hear you’re telling people about my drawings…”

I’m going to be honest, she didn’t want the party, that Meme of ours.  “You’re not coming back for that, are you?” she asked my Aunt Linda in disbelief that anyone would fly across the country to celebrate her ninety years.  Her sister flew in from Phoenix.  Her nephew flew in from Washington.  Chicago.  San Francisco.  Lansing.  Down the street and across the country, they were here simply because of her.  It made her anxious and she must have said at least a dozen times that she didn’t get what the big fuss was about her birthday.

“No speeches,” she made us promise. 

Five minutes with our family and strangers realize what a boisterous group of individuals she’s responsible for creating.  Some might use the word loud, but we’d like to think we’re entertaining.  But, Meme?  She is the one sitting back listening, laughing so hard she has tears in her eyes, dismissing us with a disgusted, “oh!” and a wave of her hand when we’re rambunctious and reminding us not to swear in front of her siblings.  Something she has to do repeatedly. 

She is quiet, unpretentious, honest, and intensely private.  Attention and spotlight are not her thing. 

She is content to be the one doing the celebrating, not the one being celebrated.  She’s been doing this my entire life and I have to imagine, for years before me.  My sister Lyndsey and I were talking, it’s something she has always done so unobtrusively that we were absolutely dumbfounded that we have never even noticed until now.  “Oh, that Morgan, can you believe it?  She made a basket at the last second and WON the game for her team,” she’ll casually mention, beaming with pride.  “Your mom, I don’t know how she does it.  She’s the hardest worker and has the biggest heart I’ve ever seen.” Then, later she’ll drop into conversation “No matter where we go, Judy runs into a student who remembers her.  She was so good to those kids, you can tell they really respected her.”  She’ll mention what a great cook Linda is, how gorgeous Sue’s garden is, how business savvy Anita is, and that Jim can make her laugh more than anyone.  Without even realizing it all these years, everyone else’s talents have been sung to me from every conversation with Meme.

She has no clue why anyone would find her remarkable when her children are so much more so, in her eyes.  She conveniently forgets the fact that she brought them up that way.  When someone mentions how hard it must have been raising six children after my grandpa died at forty-seven, she’ll staunchly say that she had no choice but to pick herself up and put one foot in front of the other.  Because that is what you do.   She has taught us by example to be kind to ourselves and even when you feel like you have little, there is always room to help someone else.  

The very moment that someone marvels that she got on a bus with her girlfriends after high school and went and lived in Los Angeles for a year, she just waves you off.  Not even your protests that women from small towns in Ohio just didn’t do things like that back then, will dissuade her that it isn’t a big deal.  She has been the vault for hundreds of secrets we’ve all whispered to her about babies on the way, impending moves, new jobs, or engagements.  She sees nothing interesting that at ninety years old, the Rolling Stones are still a favorite to listen to or that she rode her bike 5 or 6 miles everyday until she was in her seventies.  She’s so passionate about Ohio State basketball that she catches every game.  And she’ll deny it all the livelong day, but we all know she swears at the TV when they’re not doing well.

Yes, she seems just like every old lady out there, doesn’t she?

And I am.  Going to tell you about the party, I mean.  Just as soon as I can convince my uncle to let me share his {infinitely better than mine because he actually knows what he’s doing} photos with you.  The party was fantastic, but not half as fantastic as the reason behind the party.

Don’t you let Meme tell you otherwise.


Anonymous said...

Michelle, you've captured the essence of Meme and why we love her so much. Thanks for putting it into words!
Love you,
Aunt Linda

Anonymous said...

she is lovely.

Sarah Reed said...

This is so sweet and reminds me so much of my own Grandma. I think I will make sure to call her today.

Michelle said...

Sarah, that is the best compliment for this post. Everyone should take that moment to call, shouldn't they? Thank you!

Unknown said...

OMG Janet now and Meme in that first picture - identical!

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

That's so awesome. Love your Meme!

Unknown said...

I don't know if it shows you when someone shares your posts or blogs, but I HAD to share this one!! I have one of these but we call her "Nana" and it wasn't until I was a mother did I realize the true endlessness of her true selfishness but I don't think it was until today, reading your post, that I realized she's always done this without any recognition whatsoever, and would even truly get mad if you tried to give it to her. The same woman that will take gift cards she has gotten for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. that are supposed to be for her and use them on everyone but her but would NEVER want more than a simple "thank you" for doing it (and if we're honest, she's not usually expecting one of those either)!! It's AMAZING to find a woman that I see myself in so much and it seems like you are picking things right out of my brain!! Don't take this the wrong way, but, I think I might be falling in love with you!! LMAO

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