Word Count: 460
By Peg Scarano
She wasn’t an easy woman to love. She was tough on her children from childhood throughout their adulthood. She was harsh with her husband much of the time. She was short on patience and understanding. Smiles were rare. I never saw an out-right belly laugh. She wasn’t a grandma who showered her grandchildren with hugs and kisses. She never seemed happy.
Her husband was a saint. I’ve never met a nicer man. His love visibly flowed from the sparkle in his eyes and smile on his face. He was good provider for his family and devoted his life to their well-being. Opposites attract? They sure did in their relationship.
Were there reasons for her unhappiness? I like to think so. She had a hard childhood. There was not a lot of money. She lost two brothers in a horrific accident when she was five. Her mom withdrew and was never the same after they died. Her father was a strict disciplinarian. She had to quit school to go to work at a young age. Perhaps this caused underlying resentment and bitterness. We’ll never know.
Her feelings would creep to the surface occasionally along with her crooked little smile. These moments were treasured by all. And she had her unique little ways to show she cared. There was always food on the table and that food was cooked from the love in her heart that she always kept hidden. If you didn’t eat, you could almost see her heart ache. This was her offering of love and affection to her family. She wanted and needed it to be accepted by all who sat at her table. Food was her offering of love.
Over the years, her husband, sons and daughter and grandchildren all learned how to love their mom and gram. You watched what you said and did in front of her and, most importantly, you cleaned your plate. Whether the kids discretely snuck food to their dad or their papa or just forced it down their throats, they knew it would make gram happy and that was an important lesson to learn.
My mother-in-law taught me what not to do and I hope I learned this valuable lesson well. She taught my children respect and how to love people who may be difficult to love. She taught them how to work hard within themselves to win the heart of someone special. These lessons may not be the typical ones learned from a gram, but they were important nevertheless. Her children were her future. My children are my future. Their children are the future of this family. This family has learned to be strong and outwardly loving because of their grandmother. Gram – You did your job well. Please, rest in peace.