What brought up this subject? Well .... two days a week, my husband has a part time employee come to our home and do some work for him. Her office is in the basement, but she enters through our front door, passing by my husbands office, before getting to the stairway to the basement. Every morning that I know she is coming over, I think about the kidmarks left on the glass panels by the door, and that I need to shine my windows so that the kidmarks don't show. My husband has double glass french doors that enter his office, and they are usually loaded with kidmarks, so I would need to go shine them as well before our employee enters our home. In fact, I am going to take a moment to stop this post, to go shine the kidmarks before she comes. I'll be right back.....!
Ok, now the kidmarks are gone... but not the memories of the children who left them. This past weekend, I went down to southern Utah to a Boutique and fair that I chose to participate in. I invited my mother to go with me. The trip was a long one and I knew that it would not be fun with my Mom as she tends to really irritate me with her backseat driving, so I made a plan. Since I am on my wards Family History committee, and I know that I need to get my own family history done, I thought I would take the opportunity to interview my Mom about memories that she has of grandparents that I never knew. My mother is 76 now and who knows how long she will be with us, and her memories will go with her. I also knew that if I got her talking about other things, she wouldn't be able to backseat drive as bad as she does, and I could be much less irritated.
I asked Mother about her grandparents on her Robinson side. I never knew them however I have seen pictures. Not much as ever been said about them, and I wanted to know some of my Mothers memories of her Grandparents. She began to tell me that when she thinks of this grandmother, she sees a woman who hardly ever smiles, wearing an apron and always carrying a wash cloth around in her hand. This grandmother was an absolute perfectionist and nothing was ever out of place or had any kid marks whatsoever. Mother told me that her wood floors always shined like they were freshly waxed and that everyone had to remove their shoes before even thinking about entering her house. The lawn, trees, shrubs and gardens were always meticulously manicured but there was never a toy or swing set or anything that might detract from the beauty of their land. When my mother went to this grandmothers house, she was a tin soldier, trying not to make a move for fear she would get in trouble.
My mother mentioned that her grandmother's daughter who lived at home until she was married in her 30's also wore crisply ironed aprons, and constantly carried a wash cloth around in her hand. She remembers seeing her grandmother and Aunt, wiping behind them when they touched the banister, or a wall, or even the chairs. Towels were spread where the grandchildren sat on the couch or chairs, just in case the grand kids made any kind of a mess.
My mother told me she has NO memories of playing in that house with her grandmother, sitting down and drawing or even catching a ball together. When she went to her grandmothers house, she never had a happy feeling, and always felt that her presence there was an imposition or a possibility for grandma to have more cleaning to do. My mother remember one day when her younger brother who had to be only 3 or so at the time of this memory, went up to the front door and pressed his little hands and face against the window panel by the door. When Grandma saw this, she went into a complete tizzy, getting angry with little Gary and telling him that he can never touch the windows.
My mother told me of how she hated to go over to this grandmothers home for dinner because she always felt like she was going to get in trouble if she spilled. When she would arrive, t here were towels spread all over the children's chairs that they would sit on, and underneath the chairs and even under the dishes and utensils so that if one spill happened, it would be caught. My mother lived in fear of spilling even one crumb on Grandma's shiny floor, or her embroidered lace tablecloth. No fond memories were made at this grandmothers house. No happy times were shared. To this day the childhood memories of my mother about her grandmother are cold and unfriendly. How very sad that is!
In contrast to this story, my own mother had a grandmother on their mothers side, who was the exact opposite. Grandmother Cunningham was left a widow shortly after the birth of her 13th child. Her husband was a brick mason and fell off a platform while working on a multi story building in Provo, Utah. It was presumed he had a heat stroke as he was working in the hot sun. Anyway, having many children must be the reason that she was so kid friendly in her home. There were kidmarks found everywhere as they lived in a 3 room home for many years. Kids were everywhere, yet she provided an environment where each child knew they were loved and wanted.
Grandma Cunningham had a huge, ball and claw dining table, where ever night mom and kids would gather for prayers. Grandma had always prepared the chairs, so that the seats faced outward instead of under the table, so that the kids could kneel and rest their arms on the chair seats. My own Grandmother Robinson, or my mothers mother, remembered how hard those wood floors would feel on their knees, as they prayed every night. She remembered when Grandma Cunningham would pray, it was the worst, because her prayers were long as she expressed gratitude for everything she had from the cow, that gave them milk and cream, to the apples and peaches on the trees, and for the home and shelter, and on and on, that by the time that she was done, each child felt like they were the richest of humans, because of all the things that Grandma thanked God for. They never realized just how poor and humble they were, because Grandma Cunningham's gratitude made them feel rich.
My Mother shared memories on that long trip of her Grandmother Cunningham's wonderful way of making her feel loved. She remembered that there was always a quilt up in the living room, and all the grandchildren played house and dolls under those quilts. Grandmother would get out her buttons and let the grand kids play with them and my mother remembers sorting them for hours at a time with her cousins, and vying to get the best buttons. She remembers how dusting grandmothers figurines were something to be sought after and the person that Grandmother chose to do that chore was so honored to do so. Nobody ever touched Grandma's figurines and curios, except for those who were chosen to dust them. My mother said that those figurines were nothing spectacular, costly or even valuable, but Grandmother Cunningham was grateful for all she had and treated everything with love, respect and care. This attitude for gratitude was passed on to all her children.
The stories that my mother shared with me on this trip made the trip wonderful. Though there was still alittle back seat driving, these stories created a diversion from the focus on that to something that was meaningful and wonderful to share. I will never forget the memories that have been created with my mother, by this drive to a fair, and neither will she.
Back to kidmarks... When my little granddaughter and grandson from Park City come to my house, I know that they are here when I hear a tap, tap, tapping on my side panel windows at my front door. There like two little monkeys one on the others shoulders figuratively speaking, are the faces and hands of these little ones, stuck to the window panel. When I get closer to the door, I see the smiles on their faces, and noses scrunched up pressing on the window. I see their little hands waving wildly with anticipation of seeing me walking toward them. I open up the door and both of them grab hold of my legs and hug me tightly. I bend down, and each of them give me a 'Tight Squeeze" as they call it around my neck. I lift them up and plaster them with kisses on their cheeks and tell them how happy I am to see them. Their little voices are all a flutter with wanting to be the first to tell me their stories of what happened lately in their lives.
As all of this transpires, I notice the kidmarks on the windows. How blessed I am for those kidmarks and I hope that they will always be there for me to enjoy. No washcloth in hand to wipe off kidmarks of windows an doors, for me, because there is no room for a washcloth as I am holding the hands of my precious little ones.
To close this epistle I just want to say... Enjoy every single moment in the lives of your children and grandchildren. Take the time to love and laugh and talk and giggle. Take the time for tea parties and cookie baking days. Take the time to make the memories that will last with your children and grandchildren. Those kidmarks will always be there, and they can be wiped up when the kids go home, and you will remember long after the kids are gone who made them, that they were there, and you were happy to have them in your life even for but a moment. Make the moments last forever in the lives of your children, and engrave in your own memory!
Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my hand print
On furniture and wall
But everyday I'm growing
(I'll be all grown someday)
And all those tiny hand prints
Will surely fade away.
So here's a final hand print
Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked
When they were very small.
--T. Lambert, Jr.
I found this cute poem and the blue hand prints at karenspoetryspot.blogspot.com/