Remembering Ma

Sometimes parenting requires you to find strength you didn’t know you had. One person who exemplified that word ‘strength’ was my beloved Grandmother who sadly passed away last Monday, just 10 days shy of her 94th Birthday.

When thinking about all the things that made Ma so special, so many things come to mind. Most of them tied up in memories of her that I’ll always have from when I was a child through to adulthood. That special way she said my name, the way she could spot a weight gain or loss of less than a kilo with the naked eye, her baking skills, her love of a good ‘yarn’, her dedication to fashion and most of all, her unwavering love and support . She was the quintessential family matriarch, the sun in which we all revolved.

Not long ago I found an old school assignment on favourite things that I did when I was about 7 years old. Under ‘my favourite place’ I’d written with a careful lead-pencilled hand “Ma’s House”. And that’s how it was always known – even though both her and pop lived there – it was always hers. Such was her presence and influence. I still remember my days spent with her as a toddler, of games of ‘fish’ on the veranda, of made up songs she’d sing as we’d wait for Pop to come back from town, of her chasing me and my sister through the house with her false teeth sticking out of her mouth chattering, the excitement of morning and afternoon tea time where it would be my job to call Pop up from the garden with a loud “Afternoon tea Time” which would be met with the call of “Righto!” echoing up from among the oranges or the vege patch. And there we sat with coffees and whatever Ma had cooked up on baking day Friday – patty cakes with pink icing, slices, chocolate cake and for the savoury element some saos with tomato. It was rare that any caramel tart – her signature dish – was left after the weekend’s onslaught of visitors.

As I grew up, every Sunday afternoon was spent at Ma’s as well as a few school holiday sleepovers where we would be dropped off with a McCain’s Bacon and Cheese pizza. For me, there was no place more exciting as we ran around the sprawling rooms, fed and milked the goats and helped Ma around the house feeding the different cats and dogs she had throughout the years.

Spending time with Ma became a salvation of sorts, a place where I could enjoy the simple things and learn about life from her.

Ma was a latter-day Facebook – dispensing family gossip with rapid speed to all interested parties. She was so proud of us all and our achievements, rejoicing in engagements, weddings and her ever-expanding brood of great-grandchildren. I am so glad she got to meet my son Jarvis, born last October, and though he will never grow to know her in person he will know her through the stories that live on with us. One of my most treasured moments is the last time I saw her, in hospital the day before she died, when we were rising to leave I lowered Jarvis to her and although frail she lifted her hands to his little arms and head to his face to give him a big Ma kiss. Looking back, I can’t help thinking it was a kiss that could last him a lifetime. And so it is. And in that moment the circle of life became illuminated.

I was lucky to have grown up close to her and she was my ‘child care centre’, my carer when my mother went back to work. Losing her has got me thinking of how important a role she played in my life and feeling a bit sad that we don’t live close to either of our parents.

What about you? Did you grow up with a close Grandparent role model? Do your children have a close bond with their Grandparents?

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7 thoughts on “Remembering Ma

  1. What a beautiful post! Now I’m crying. Yes it’s that beautiful. You’ve truly honored your grandmother with this lovely post. Sadly my dad’s mom passed way almost 3 years ago this upcoming October. She was very much like your grandmother in that she loved to know exactly what was going on and was never afraid to be frank about things.
    I wrote a poem in honor of my grandma Peggy I’d love to share with you:

    Servant 9/16/2009

    Above all you were a servant.
    You freely gave your smile to any one you said, “Hello,” to.
    Your home was always a welcoming place filled with food to eat and laughter.
    Your style of dress was always classy and colorful.
    You never were without your lipstick or dangly earrings.
    Your nails were always painted such a pretty color.
    Your routine was like clock work. Your cup of coffee and your morning cig were
    your morning pleasures to start your day just right.
    Your strong faith in God was as sure as the sunrise and the sunset.
    You were a woman of few words, but when you spoke everyone listened.
    You always had a love of photos and were great at keeping up our family history.
    I’ll never forget the countless times I’d sit and shift through all those albums.
    You severed your husband with patience, love and devotion. You were his shining star he was so proud of.
    You stood by your man through everything and came out smiling. Your adoration of him was certain.
    This anniversary of your birthday is so hard. I guess the time still feels so fresh with you being gone.
    You’re still here in spirit and I know you are there.
    Know I love you with all of my heart.
    *********************************************

    I know it doesn’t rhyme very well. Thanks so much for sharing. Grandparents are one of the biggest blessings to be given in life. 🙂

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  2. I was never close to my grandparents, but I hope that someday my children are close to their’s. I will make sure of it!

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  3. what a beautiful tribute to your ma. i grew up with beautiful grandparents, being babysat sometimes in an SP bookie’s office! It’s funny to see my parents become grandparents now, and do all the things they complained about- like tickling babies to wake them up. Nice to meet you!

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  4. She sounds like an amazing person. We lose so much when our grandparents pass – society loses the most. What a different attitude to life they had and how centred in the moment and grateful they were for what they had. I wish we could be more like that. The sense of entitlement today makes me feel so sad.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts on your Ma. You were very lucky to have her in your life for so long. x

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  5. What a lovely post. Sometimes I wish life was more like it was when your Ma was in her prime! We can learn so much about keeping things simple from this generation. So glad you had such a positive role model and thanks for Rewinding x

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  6. Rewinding the weekend by visiting lots of new-to-me blogs. What a touching way to start out your blogging. I just love the photo too.

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  7. Hello Belinda,

    Your tribute to Ma, my Aunty Lily, is lovely as you certainly captured her to a “T”.

    Congratulations on Hugo, mum just emailed me the VERY good news.

    Take care now

    Julie xxxx

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