Today would have been my grandma’s birthday, but she is not spending it with us. She passed away after a battle with cancer, which she fought bravely on her own terms, nearly five years ago. I much prefer to remember her date of birth rather than date of death, which was less than a month after her 68th birthday. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and miss her terribly. She was a bright, colorful person, though not the same after my grandpa died, but still absolutely wonderful.
I learned a love of shopping, jewelry, and make-up from her. I was the only granddaughter she let touch her vanity, and I would sit for hours applying lipstick, lip liner, eye shadow, blush, anything and everything she had up there. Shopping was a sport, and I remember plenty of birthdays spent with Gram and Aunt Patty where hours would pass as we looked at clothes and toys, had lunch, and then shopped some more. Those were some of my fondest birthday memories. They were also the ones who introduced me to Black Friday Shopping. But hands down, my Gram had the best jewelry. My eyes would sparkle with excitement when I opened the drawers of the vanity and jewelry boxes that contained gold and gemstones. This was better than being a kid in the candy store; I was a kid in a jewelry store! My favorite piece of jewelry that my grandma had is now my own – a beautiful emerald and diamond ring that was her wedding ring from my Pop. It is my most prized possession, given to me by my mom on my 30th birthday.
Gram had an active role in raising my brother, sisters, and me, helping my mom while my dad worked to support the ever-growing Lesco household. She had a funny way of saving “pupcorn” and “theater (thee-ay-ter)”, and heaven forbid if she ever ordered coffee at a restaurant, no matter how “starved” she was, because it was guaranteed to go back. Gram said what she felt, all the time, and I am sure this got her into trouble. She was there for me when I needed her most, the one person I could always talk to. I was her first grandchild, her Annie (that is what she called me).
I feel blessed because I was able to spend the last good day with her. It was a Friday, and Adrianna, Alexandra, and I went to her house. We laughed and smiled and visited, and I had no idea exactly how sick she was. She put on a very good front to hide that from everyone. The next day I got a call from my mom saying that she was rushed to the hospital. Four days later, she was gone, passing away peacefully in her own home.
I am so thankful that she was there for the birth of my two daughters, though Adrianna would have no memory of her as she was only a year old. Cole and Cael were born exactly 6 months after died, but I try to talk about her to all four of my children. They need to know what a wonderful woman she was and how much she was loved by her family. She went by GG because she was just too young to be called great-grandma. How cute it that?
Happy Birthday, Gram. I love and miss you. What I wouldn’t give to be able to talk with you again.