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My grandmother, Martha Anne, is the only grandparent I have ever known. Maybe it's because of this, or maybe it's because I was half-named after her, but whatever it may be, we've always had a special bond. I remember being a little girl and begging her to set me on her knee so she would bounce me up and down like I was riding a horse. Of course, a ride wouldn't be complete without her singing the theme song to "Bonanza." Every so often she'd set me on her lap and bounce, and then, at the end, she'd open her legs and let me fall through, laughing hysterically with me. Funny that I now do this with the kids I take care of.
I also remember snuggling with her, and walking hand in hand on the beach searching for the perfect seashell, and trying on all of her magnificent jewelry.
At 23 years old, I still take every chance I get to pick her brain about our family history, and what life was like when she was growing up. She's 89 now and her memories are patchy, but I take what I can get, even if it does mean hearing the same stories over and over and over again. I know my time with her is becoming more and more limited and I never want to regret missing a chance to talk with her.
As she's gotten older and her memory has begun to fade, she's begun to fixate on things that remind her of her youth, especially around Christmastime. One of those fixations is trying to recite the entire poem of "The Night Before Christmas" from memory. She usually stumbles over some of the lines, but, for the most part, knows it perfectly, and will recite the poem several times a day.
When Hallmark came out with their recordable storybooks this year, I told my mom we should buy "The Night Before Christmas" and have my Grams record it so that when she dies, I'll still be able to hear her voice reading one of her favorite poems. We bought it over Thanksgiving break and I had her record it this weekend while she was visiting. She couldn't get over what a wonderful idea it was and was so excited to do it.
While it certainly is a gift for myself and my brother (and my Dad and Mom), the best part is that my children and my brother's children will be able to know their wonderful great-grandmother and can share in one of my favorite memories I have of her. It really is a gift that can be passed down for generations and will keep my grandmother's memory alive.
*Honest opinion, no compensation*