Right after Mums passed away, I woke up in the middle of the night and all these fun memories flooded my mind and I had to write them all down. So, this is my tribute to my Mums and Pops and the amazing parents, grandparents and great-grandparents that they were to all of us. Until we meet again...
I'll never forget the way they said each other's names when they were annoyed with each other. It was the cutest thing to watch.
The hikes + excursions + family trips we all took together. (The time our car broke down at Cedar Point was a real winner and the spider-infested cabin we stayed in one night are memories I know we'll never forget - even if we wanted to - thanks to that AAA book club thing Mums always insisted on using whenever they traveled anywhere.)
Mums' crazy driving. Lots of asking for directions, getting lost + stopping on freeways to merge. Oh Lordy, just driving down the street to the grocery store was always an adventure.
A simple walk in the woods - in Mums' favorite "crunchy" fall leaves - with Tombstone pizza + salad + Wheel of Fortune playing on TV were the best memories I remember of a typical Saturday at Mums and Pops' house.
Or, the girly movies us girls liked to watch together. Little Women, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables and Yentl were just some of our favorites.
Mums' working days serving lunch in the high school cafeteria. Or, cooking and serving food wherever she went. (Those frozen school cookies she snuck us from time to time looked a little scary, but they were always the best.)
The impromptu trips to TCBY yogurt before fro-yo was even a thing.
Mums' favorite chocolate or cookies she hid in the pantry, but us grandkids always seemed to find.
Pops reading the newspaper and the "funnies" each day and seeing it laid out on the family room floor.
The apron, robe and blue slippers Mums always wore.
The swivel TV in the family room. Best invention ever.
The many family + friends they got together with over the years.
All the traveling + trips they made over the years.
Their homemade slush punch and "tooty fruity" ice cream that was like none other.
The creaky, lopsided sofa bed in the back room with bars that poked you in the back + almost collapsed every time you laid down.
Pops' wheat pancakes made special for breakfast using his own secret recipe that he'd never give out.
Pops yelling at sports games on TV, while Mums sewed, ironed clothes, watched movies or just enjoyed some peace + quiet in the back room by herself.
Mums' big family Sunday dinners. Her beef brisket with mashed potatoes, her infamous "rivvels," green bean casserole, salad, rolls + dessert that she made so easily for 20 people or more and always said it was just "thrown together."
The Sunday afternoons that were spent watching golf on TV + taking naps on the couch or family room floor.
The Memorial Day parades they took us grandkids to.
The baby showers Mums attended + helped plan.
The family birthdays we celebrated every month with Uncle Mark's wooden candle board.
The many board games we all played together over the years. Sometimes we wanted to play, and sometimes Mums goaded us into it.
The funny inside jokes we shared. Such as "What day is it?" and "What's the price of China?" that made Mums laugh hysterically years ago.
The frugal way Mums lived - and how she saved everything (and I mean everything). A used envelope, box, wrinkled wrapping paper and torn bows were just some of the things she treasured and would never throw away. Everything could be used for something!
The Christmases we all shared together - all crammed into Mums and Pops' living room like hot, smelly sardines. (The year Adam burnt his arm hair on one of Mums' candles will always be my favorite and smelliest memory by far. It. Was. Awful.)
The annual searching of the prized pickle ornament on Mums and Pops' tree. And the mad rush of adrenaline + pushing + teasing that ensued from all of us grandkids as we fought to see who would find the pickle first. (Us girls never stood a chance.) A crazy tradition I never really understood but something I treasure and do with my own family at Christmastime every year.
The 4th of July fireworks we all watched together as a family year after year after year.
The Easter baskets + indoor Easter egg hunts we all enjoyed and then endured as we got older - and now realize what an incredible memory and gift that day really was.
The generous gifts.
The many bear hugs.
The way each holiday and get-together was made so special.
The winks, the coy little grins.
The "I'm proud of you's."
The constant encouragement that "Tomorrow is another day and it will get better..."
The prayer warriors that they were.
Everything about Mums and Pops was funny and special and a blessing all rolled into one. They loved and accepted me as one of their own from the very beginning, and I'll never forget that. What a beautiful thing to be adopted into such a wild and crazy family at the age of 7. It's been quite the ride these last three decades. And I'm so grateful that God allowed me to be a part of it. To witness the amazing people our parents and grandparents were and the incredible legacy they leave behind.