The deaths of this past week have me thinking. I suppose it is common to become introspective at these times as you hear of the contributions of those now gone. It is not unusual to consider what you are contributing yourself and determine what type of memories you want to have shared at your own funeral. I don't expect mine to come for quite a while. I come from a long line of lively women.
My great-grandmother Bingham lived well into her 90s. I recall spending the summer between my junior and senior years of high school with my grandmother in South Carolina and my great-grandmother was bed-ridden at that time. She must have been sick because I knew she was there but there were no conversations or interactions with her on my part. My grandmother McNeil is now 93 and though she has had some bouts with cancer, she is still fighting. I had actually hoped to get out to visit her this summer but with the job situation, we had to delay. I'm hoping she'll still be around next summer.
My mother is 74. She had a double hip replacement about 10 years ago and I think it made her even more active. I hadn't thought that was possible. So given the long lives that are still being lived in my family, I plan on being around for quite a while longer. This begs the question of what kind of life I want to live.
I admit, I want to be rich. I don't necessarily want to have fancy cars or big houses, but I want to be able to be involved in activities with my family that will help provide those memories which they will relate at my funeral. I'd like to travel. I want my children to be familiar with historical sites; to stand in the Sacred Grove and feel God's Spirit; to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and stand in awe of those who serve our country; to visit Mount Rushmore and breathe in the grandeur of such talent.
My children are growing up quicker than I'd like. My oldest starts high school this year and it won't be long before he is driving, dating, graduating, going on a mission, getting married, and having children of his own. I can't wait to be a grandma. I can, but I'm looking forward to that experience. I have never been close with any of my grandparents. Most of that is due to distance. My grandfather McNeil died when I was 8. My grandma Gardner passed away 4 years ago. My grandmother McNeil is still on the east coast and my grandpa Gardner is a 12-hour drive away. There are distant memories of Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas mornings at G&GGs as my dad's parents are fondly known. Time with my mom's family was limited due to the distance, but I am glad they made the effort to get us out there every few years.
I consider the grandparents my children have. Distance is a stumbling block to close relations. My parents have never stopped being parents as they have been left to raise the children of my youngest sister, who was a child herself when she started having babies. Grandpa Taggart passed away not long after Neil and I married and so none of the children really got to know him. We loved when Grandma Janet lived here in Phoenix though we probably didn't take advantage of that time with her as well as we could have. Now that she is 3 hours away, our time with her is limited. We always feel like an invasion whenever we travel anywhere - this is where being rich would come in handy. We could either buy a travel trailer or just stay in motels. We could fly instead of drive.
So I want to be an awesome grandma. I want to be the cookie-baking, airsoft-shooting, trampoline-jumping, spoil-you-rotten grandma everyone loves. I will not own yappy dogs or any cats. I will go camping and fishing. I will not make you eat all your vegetables. You can have dessert even if you didn't eat all your dinner. I will break all the rules I ever set for your parents and I will override their rules when you are at my house. I will always love you and you will always know it.