This is part one of a several-part series. I have decided to pay tribute to my grandparents.
I have issues with death -- which I won't entirely get into right here. Thank goodness, I have very little experience with it. But I struggle with the idea of paying tribute to someone's life and influence after they've passed. Why don't we do more complimenting and reflecting and sharing stories before our loved one leaves us?
A few weeks ago my very wise sister posted this on her blog. I knew right away I needed to pay some tributes before it's too late.
Greg's grandma, Marge, has always treated me like I'm perfect.
Marge is 99% of the reason I even married G.
I met Marge in the fall of 1997. G and I were very casually dating while students at BYU. One evening G had to drive up to Ogden (an hour and a half away) to swap cars with his cousin. Unfortunately the details about that night are fuzzy because I had no idea at the time how dramatically the course of my life would change.
We arrived at Marge's house in Ogden and I immediately was introduced to cousin Matt (one of G's best friends in the whole world) and Grandma Marge and Grandpa Vern. They had prepared a wonderful meal for us, so of course as we sat down for dinner, a prayer on the food was offered. I was surprised and impressed when Vern prayed for each member of the family by name -- each child, spouse, grandchild, and great-grandchild. Over the years I've taken the time to do that a few times but I later learned that Vern did that often, if not every day.
Vern and Marge were warm and immediately took an interest in me. We talked all through dinner about my life and my interests.
G had started a punk rock band, so after dinner we gathered around the stereo so he could show his grandparents a cassette recording of one of his recent shows. You should have heard Marge's oohs and awes. I could not believe how sincere she was in her approval of his band.
Over the course of the evening I was impressed. I could tell she adored G and obviously he had huge respect for her. That night I never consciously thought, "Oh, G must be the one for me." But I do remember thinking very clearly that when I was ready for marriage, I would for sure choose someone that came from parents or grandparents like her. I knew right then and there that I would for sure choose a spouse with that level of loyalty, sincerity and kindness.
A few days later I received my mission call to Poland. I was to leave in three months and would be there for 18 months. I was ecstatic and G seemed genuinely excited for me. The night I received the call, we had a little party in my apartment. During the party, G asked to borrow my phone. Turns out, he called his mom and asked her if they would fly me to their house for Thanksgiving the following week. (We were still casually dating.)
Vern and Marge also flew to Nevada for Thanksgiving. We had a really fun weekend with them including lots of games of spoons (do you know that game?). They were hilarious and by the end of the weekend, I kept thinking that if G came from them, he was probably A-OK.
Over the years I've come to learn that Marge is an ordinary woman who never achieved worldly accolades because she spent her life taking care of her family. I would imagine she could have achieved great things, but instead she achieved kindness and sincerity.
Vern sadly died a few years ago and I know Marge has been terribly lonely ever since. She came to visit us a few years ago for Halloween. We took her to a pumpkin patch with us and she enjoyed the hayride and choosing a pumpkin almost as much as Buddy did (not quite two years old at the time). She's the type that enjoys whatever we enjoy.
G's parents came to visit and to see the new house back in April. Before they came, they were talking to Marge and she mentioned how much she'd enjoy coming to visit us too. They felt so bad for her, so next thing we knew she was on a plane from Utah to their house, so she could hitch a ride with them to visit us too.
And let me tell you, having her here with us was wonderful. The bed she slept in was "the most comfortable bed she's ever slept in." My cooking was "the best food she'd ever eaten." My house is "the most beautiful home she's ever seen." And my children "are the most well-behaved and the most darling children she's ever met." I was generally just perfect and the best wife in the whole world, according to Marge. I've never felt so good about myself.
The cool thing about Marge is everything she says is so sincere and yet I know she treats everyone like that. She treats everyone like they are perfect.
Interestingly enough, what she sees in others is reflected on her. She's the perfect one.