Tator Tots and Tennis Shoes

We said good-bye to my Grandma this week. I’m teary tonight as I write. A lifetime of memories comes flooding over me and I miss her. I want her here again. And yet it’s OK, I know she is finally free of all that is broken and hurting. I grieve with the hope of heaven for those who believe in Jesus.

In times like these I find it impossible to not become contemplative. I process through words and so I write. As I was journaling tonight it stood out to me that most of the things that I miss the most are the ordinary things, the simple things, the homemade things.

When I think about my memories I imagine her patting the space on the couch next to her inviting me to sit close and tell her about my life. I can almost feel her hands around my waist as the tape measure slides through her fingers as she takes down my size for a custom sun dress. I remember the feeling of the fleece footy pajamas that she made me every Christmas. They were my favorite. I can taste the tator tot casserole hot from the apartment sized oven at the cottage. A long day of swimming and sun made me so hungry and everything always tasted good. I imagine her lifting the lid off of a Tupperware container to reveal cookies inside and her inviting me to sit around the table at 10:00, coffee break time.

Then I think about some of the great walks we took. When we were feeling ambitious we would hike from the cottage on Piney Ridge all the way through the woods to the Ludington State park. We walked through the dusty isles at the Saturday morning flee market. We browsed through the tiny JCPenney, that store was my favorite. We walked to watch the Badger come in and stopped by House of Flavors, or maybe by the little grocery store if there was a big group of us and going out to ice cream would cost a small fortune.

Tator Tots and Tennis shoes. It stands out to me that it is the simple ordinary things that I really remember, the things that I cling to. Sometimes I wait to have someone over because because I don’t think I have an impressive menu. Grandma was a great cook, but I also remember her Tupperware sometimes had store bought doughnuts or simple windmill cookies. Still, she always invited you around her table.

We are often holding on waiting for the next thing before we enjoy life. We think, I’ll be happy when I’m thinner,when my house is remodeled, when I get a new job, or when I’m on vacation. The truth is my best days were spent in tennis shoes, not high heals and some of my favorite meals were served on paper plates.

Our lives are but a mist, a vapor. Savor. Savor every hug, every chance for conversation. Every meal. Invite a friend when you walk and share life together. Break out the photo album and remember the good days, the days when the camera caught you laughing or boating or sharing a meal. Look at how vibrant you look, do the things that make you feel alive and connected with people. This is what matters.

Celebrate the daily ordinary moments. They are the foundation that life is made of. Smile more. Laugh more. Dance more. Love with all your heart.

Dear Grandma, I am so thankful for the summers at the cottage and the sleepovers on your living room couch. I’m thankful for big batches of broccoli cheese soup and apple pies. I love our memories of family dinners with tables stretched across the length of your basement. I am thankful for your modeling of hospitality and friendship. I love your legacy of 72 years of marriage. You and Grandpa are such an inspiration. Thank-you for helping me and teaching me and loving me. I love you.

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