I am happy to report that a new generation has been added to our family tree. This marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life, and as a result, I have a new title.
My new title, in addition to titles of Registered Dental Hygienist and Certified Genealogist, is Grandma. But unlike the other two, I didn’t have to study for years or take an examination for this position. The title of Grandma was simply bestowed upon me when Chloe Kay was born a couple weeks ago.
Being Grandma is an important position. A grandma’s duties include providing a warm, soft lap, a listening ear, fresh-baked cookies, and the ability to dry tears. But my grandmothers also taught me many important things.
I knew three of my grandmothers, Grandma Miller, Grandma Schumm, and Grandma Brewster. Grandma Brewster was my great-grandmother and I vaguely remember visiting her. But I distinctly remember the other two because I spent a considerable amount of time with them.
Grandma Miller taught me how to fry potatoes and pork chops in a cast iron skillet using lard, how to make stewed tomatoes, how to sew with a treadle sewing machine, to have a sense of humor, and how to win at Gin Rummy. Yes, she may have cheated a little at cards, but it was all in fun.
From my Grandma Schumm I got an appreciation of nice things, like fine China, antique dishes, and quilts. She was also like a pioneer woman. She gardened and made nearly everything from scratch. I once watched her prepare a chicken for dinner. When I say she prepared a chicken, I mean that she prepared it from start to finish. The chicken’s morning started out like a typical day in the barnyard but ended tragically for the poor fowl.
I barely remember my great-grandma Brewster, just that Grandpa Miller would take Grandma to visit her in Geneva every few weeks and I would tag along. Their long conversations were boring to me back then but now I wish I could go back in time and listen to them talk.
I look forward to being Grandma, but along with the title comes a big responsibility.
What will I teach Chloe?
I want to teach her to have faith in God. To be honest and fair and to be persistent in whatever she does. To like what she does and to finish what she starts. To have a sense of humor, to enjoy reading, and to be creative.
I hope to teach her to enjoy and appreciate music and I will encourage her to take music lessons.
I would like to teach her to appreciate nature—to enjoy watching birds, walking through a woods, and to marvel at the beautiful sky at sunrise and sunset.
I could teach her some crafty skills like counted cross-stitch, sewing, crocheting, scrap-booking, and rubber stamping.
I will certainly teach her about our family history and encourage an interest in genealogy so that maybe she will want to continue family research and record-keeping. I have a lot of information and photos to pass on to her.
This is Chloe’s first “professional” photograph, taken at the hospital when she was only one day old. Chloe is wearing a sleeper I made for Jeff when I was pregnant and she is laying on a blanket that her great-grandmother Miller crocheted for Jeff and was used at his baptism.
What a wonderful way to create and pass on family heirlooms. Thanks Jeff and Erin for being so thoughtful!
And thank you for the beautiful little granddaughter.