“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
― Shannon L. Alder
About a week ago I returned from a whirlwind trip to Florida to celebrate the life of my paternal grandmother, my Baba. The whole time I was there I was planning this blog post in the back of my mind. What would I say and how would I say it? When my Dada (her husband) passed five years ago, I wrote a blog post about him, so I knew I had to share the second half of their story.
Though we lived five states apart my entire life, I had a wonderful relationship with my grandparents. Trips to FL were always full of excitement about traditional activities and predictability. I knew when we were heading down, I'd spend the days sitting on the couch relaxing while waiting my turn to play on Dada's computer. During moments of boredom I'd explore the nooks and crannies of the old house finding vintage toys, tiny collectibles and expired junk food. Baba always stocked her fridge with Yoohoos for my brother and bottles of water just for me. She had collectible dolls lining the house and I tried to count them all more than a handful of times. I always quit around 100.
My Baba was calm, graceful, and beautiful. She was the perfect blend of southern grace with a touch of being a straight shooter. She would always tell me "y'all think too much!" (Y'all being my generation.) It's hard to disagree with that. :)
Her life was not easy, but I never heard her complain. She was your typical 50's housewife, balancing full time parenting of four children with wifely duties to a hard working man. She was incredibly talented with her hands. She could sew, paint, sculpt, quilt, and she even ran a bridal shop for years, making and selling her own bridal gowns. She hand-made (poured, sculpted, painted and made clothes for) a numerous porcelain dolls. I mean a TON. I remember receiving them as gifts and returning to FL almost every time with a doll in tow that had either with a broken hand, cracked face, or a missing foot. She'd patiently put the dolls back together for me and give them back, trusting I'd protect them a little more each time.
You guys, she truly was a person I admired and longed to be like in life. It is an honor to be able to call her my family. I am sad she is gone, but I know she is dancing in the streets of heaven. Though her mind was sharp, her body was failing her. I know she is relieved to be free from her earthly body now.
Baba, thank you for the inspiration you were and will continue to be in my life. Thank you for the example you set and the talents you passed on. The legacy you have left behind is beautiful and it is an honor to have the opportunity to raise up girls to be as graceful and strong as you were. I love you.