Sweet Pea

16 Sep

Sweet Pea.

That’s what she called me my whole life. She would occasionally call me by my name, usually it was if I was in trouble for saying something naughty, but most of the time it was Sweet Pea. I have no idea where it came from or how she chose it. I just know it was mine. That’s one of the saddest things…. that I’ll never be known by that name again.

I could tell you what her obituary said….. Born in 1942. Worked several jobs over many years. Had a large family. When we got together to write that obituary, I almost couldn’t stand it. It broke my heart to take all of the things that she was and put them into that limited space. Because she was so much more.

She was Lucky Charms and cinnamon rolls. My brother and I frequently spent the night with her when we were small, and we would either go to this little restaurant for these giant cinnamon rolls or we would eat Lucky Charms on tv trays and watch Saturday morning cartoons. Either way, it seemed just as special. As I got older, she and I still enjoyed going out to breakfast, at another little restaurant we found; this time for giant omelettes. I miss those Saturday mornings.

She was bird books and flowers. I remember visiting her when she still worked. There were bird feeders lined up just outside of the huge window right in front of her desk. She had this collection of bird books that she would take out and tell me about the birds she had seen. I never liked birds. But I was always fascinated by those books and the fact that she loved them enough to want to know more about them. And her flowers…… they were something she cultivated for years and took great pride in. She had several that had been her mother’s and I was fortunate enough to have shared in those over the years. Some of those flowers now bloom outside my house and I would love to pass some on to my own daughter many years from now. And, it seems funny, but I miss those birds.

She was Christmas cookies and craft fairs. Every year, as the Christmas season approached, there were two things you could count on. She would start baking Christmas cookies and she always wanted to go to the Christmas Gift and Hobby show. It was only in the last several years, as it became more physically difficult for her, that my kids and I would pile into her tiny home and spend one or two days over Christmas Break making cookies with her. She would fix us lunch (which I always tried to convince her defeated the purpose of us trying to help take some of the load off of her) and we would bake all day. She made dozens of cookies. And she would put them all in different baggies to give out at Christmas. I loved making those cookies with her…. and I loved eating them when they were finished! And every year we went to the Gift and Hobby show. We rarely bought anything, but we walked and looked at everything and just spent the afternoon together. I know Christmas isn’t here yet….. but I am certainly going to miss these days with her.

She was funny and crazy. I used to wink at her and tell her she was a crazy old lady, pretty frequently. She was sometimes grouchy, and lacked a filter in many situations. I spent many conversations telling her that she couldn’t say whatever it was she had just said out loud…. and then just laughing because she had said it anyway. To be honest, she could hurt your feelings if you weren’t careful. I don’t think she would ever intentionally do that. I know, actually, because she would call me to apologize for something she had said that she thought might have upset you. (of course, it was never actually that thing that had…) She would call me multiple times a day. Sometimes she just wanted to chat. Sometimes she wanted to tell me something she had called to tell me just a few days ago. Sometimes she wanted to tell me to do something that anyone with any sense would do…. Like close my windows because it had started raining or to make sure I put my leftovers in the refrigerator. I’m not even joking. I can’t count the number of phone calls with that information, or something comparable, over the years. Sometimes, I would get so exasperated with her that she made me want to scream. Sometimes, I honestly wouldn’t answer the phone because it was the 7th time she had called that day. I would always call her back though. I knew she just needed someone to need her. Man, I miss those phone calls and that crazy old lady.

She was special birthday songs. She was the best potato salad I’ve ever had. She was at every event any of my children or I ever participated in. She was stories about the past. She was homemade noodles. She was little gifts just because. She signed every card she ever gave me “Love and Prayers.” And those were two things I could always count on from her.

I miss her like crazy. But, I know that she is so much happier. She finally made it home. My youngest son frequently tells me that she’s dancing in Heaven. I love thinking of her like that now. A smile on her face like I have never seen before, laughter in her voice, arms outstretched in freedom, just spinning and dancing….. and waiting for me.

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