Writing this in a coffee shop was not a good idea. I’ve started tearing up already and I haven’t even begun. Gramma V- has a soft spot in my heart, and is one of the most important women in my life.
In a high-pitched voice you’ll hear “Hiiiii!” roar throughout the house when she enters. Packages stand out in the mail with her distinct handwriting. When you arrive home she sits you down, gives you her undivided attention and wants to know everything. Your teachers, friends, classes, struggles and victories. A perfect example of a Proverbs 31 woman, please meet a woman who I am insanely proud to call my Grandma, Veronica Welsh.
I have never heard anything negative about her. Most grandchildren hear how their parents didn’t agree with their own parents, how their grandparents don’t want them to follow in their own footsteps or hear about the goals and achievements they must bring to the family name. I’ve never had any of that from Gramma V-. My mom has always spoken highly of her and how she was a loving mother and a loyal, caring wife. Gramma V- has also never put pressure on me to achieve anything, she simply cheers on each person for their given skills and talent. My brothers excelled at sports and Gramma was at multiple games. Amy participated in pageants and Gramma came to each one. When I completed an article for the school’s newspaper Gramma wanted every copy.
To give and not receive with the right attitude can be hard. She cares for everyone before herself, without ANY expectation of something in return. I know this because when I decided to buy her lunch a few months ago her face glowed with feeling blessed and loved on. When I call her she’ll thank me more than once for calling and lets me know how great it was to think of her. She is humble enough to be oblivious to knowing just HOW many people think of her daily and how many hearts she has warmed.
Everyone in our family and even friends have grown to simply ADORE her. No joke. My friend JT has come over just to see her, has gone to her house for lunch more than once, and now calls her Gramma. She has 17 grandchildren and doesn’t give special attention to just one. She makes time for each of her four children, along with her grandchildren.
When I was younger Papa Chuck (her husband who passed away in 2002) and Gramma made time with me more than special. They rotated having just one grandchild spend the night. The night typically included a homemade dinner, dessert and a board game followed by a movie. My favorite movie to watch with her was The Music Man. The next morning included homemade pancakes, Skip-Bo, coffee and laughter. I remember one specific night being memorable because just as I was waking up Papa Chuck saw me from the door open my eyes and came in to whisper “Mornin’ Mary….Gramma is making breakfast so you should sleep a little longer, or you’ll have to set the table.” I said “I don’t care if I do that!” He followed with a chuckle and “ha! That makes one of us” and ended it with a wink and exit.
-She took me to a strawberry patch when I was seven with Amy. We picked several boxes of strawberries, took them home and made homemade jam. One year we documented the process through pictures and submitted them into the county fair. We won the blue ribbon!
-Going to plays at the Marriott. I love that she loved plays and musicals. She had season passes and would ask someone who’d enjoy the play to join her. It was always fun.
-Last year I came home for spring break she had my mom and I over for coffee. The table had a bouquet of flowers sitting on a green tablecloth surrounded by coffee and a homemade blueberry bunt cake. Any time she had guests over the spread was out of a magazine.
-Looking at pictures with her. She LOVES looking at pictures and spends a solid amount of time on each one wanting to know everything about the people, place and time of event. Her genuine, sincere interest is shown and it’s a great way to relax and catch up. It also takes over an hour looking at once batch of pictures.
College Student Years.
If you’ve read my past blog posts you know friends from Kansas have visited me in Chicago. Every time they came to Chicago I asked Gramma to meet them. The first time Kenny, Anna and Hunter visited she came over for dinner. Let me give you a picture of just HOW much I cherish her. When my friends returned in the summer I only had two full days to show them Chicago. We decided to spend one of those afternoons at Gramma V-‘s. Months later Hunter visited Chicago, and him and JT and I went over to her house. We stayed five hours.
In my mind Gramma V- is a fearless, faithful follower of God. Whenever something has gone wrong I never remember her being worried, scared or concerned. With great zeal she radiates optimism. She encourages me to be strong and trust in God for whatever I face.
In March of this year she was diagnosed with cancer. To see one of the best, strongest, selfless, kindest women I know be hit with an uncontrollable, unpredictable sickness like cancer only brings me frustration. Of course, no one deserves cancer and anyone who has had or knows someone who has had cancer feels the same way. Gramma V-, however, being optimistic and of great faith is calm, cool and collected, just wanting God to use this for something. I love Gramma V- more than most people I come across and if you ever meet her, I’m sure you’d feel the same.