Being a military brat, it is a rare moment when something gives me a feeling of familiarity or nostalgia. Most past houses and places have been rented out to other people, relatives have moved, I always move – times have changed. I have by and large accepted this: it is natural and the way we survive and adjust as human beings. For an afternoon last November, however, this plan went on hold. As Great Grandma Allen’s face lit up upon seeing me and Zach, I was suddenly six years old again. I was suddenly 3 feet tall, tearing open Christmas presents by the fireplace as she watched, impressed at her great grandson’s ferocious gift-opening insanity. I was sitting on a barstool telling her with a sigh beyond my years that I “sure could use some Life”. (And though everyone was laughing, I knew that she understood that I wanted a bowl of cereal.) I was stuffing my face at the dinner table, knowing that it would be another year until I had the best cooking on the face of God’s green earth again. I knew that she was tough enough to beat up any of my friends’ grandmas. I knew that given any situation, she would know exactly what to do.
Grandma was kind, understanding, wise, humble, and as I grew older I began to appreciate that she had a great sense of humor. Her marriage with grandpa was a tremendous example of love and commitment for me. I am strangely comforted by the fact that I can only hope to come close to living a life more whole and authentic than hers. I was only in this world for part of the same time she was, so I will never fully know all of the various remarkable and intriguing anecdotes and details that comprised her time down here. I do know, however, that she spoiled me rotten, and she would have done so every day for 24 years if she had the chance. I will always treasure that. I knew she did.