Did I ever tell you the one about my Grandma coming to visit for Thanksgiving?
No? Well let me first tell you a little bit about my Grandma Hartley. This is the two of us a couple years ago. Isn't she beautiful?
She is one of the kindest, most gentle, optimistic people I've ever know. She has a sweet little giggle that follows most of her words, and she always calls people dear or sweetheart. I remember as a kid, after having her stay at our house for a couple weeks being absolutely shocked to learn of her shortcomings. Do you want to know what I learned about her? You have to promise not to tell because Grandma would be horrified. Hold your hats for just a moment here. My Grandma, the saint, did not drive the speed limit AND she frequently used the words "little scamps". Oh dear!
Okay so you get the point, my grandma's an angel.
I love having angels around so obviously I was excited to have my Grandma in town for Thanksgiving when I was 16. Not only did my Grandma come but one of my favorite families in the world, my cousins, the Steeles came into town too.
The night after Thanksgiving we were all sitting around the table, my siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, parents, my grandma and I. My grandma being the giver that she is started sprinkling kindness to each family member one by one, pointing out their talents and what she loved about them.
What a delight this would be. What an uplifting way to spend an evening. She started with Christopher.
"Christopher you're so kind and gentle. You show so much creativity with the the sculptures you make. You make friends easily and I love getting to know you. I love the way you can fit right in to any situation. Its a delight to have you for a grandson." (Alright these may not be exactly what she said but its exactly the way I'd like to remember it. And I'm the one telling the story so, enough said.)
I sat in my chair so proud of my brother, so excited to hear what Grandma thought about me. But I had to have patience next up was Taylor.
"Taylor" she said, "You are such an amazing artist, you have this natural ability that is such a beauty to behold. I know there are great things in your future. I just love sitting and talking with you. You're a wise soul. You also have great hair. Its so thick and naturally curly." Etc., etc., okay we get it. Taylor is awesome. Gram Grams was laying it on, and laying it on thick, because thats what Grandmas do, especially angel Grandmas.
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait. What are the lovely things others see in me that I don't always see in myself? Patience, Amy Jo is next.
"Amy Jo you can make anyone laugh, you are so boisterous and funny and you're an amazing actress. I loved watching you play as a child because you've always been so dramatic and full of energy. I also love that you can bite your toe nails. What flexibility you have!" (Okay, she most certainly did not say that. But Amy is flexible so she probably thought it.) "You are a treasure to the whole Hartley family!"
Wow, Grams was on a roll. What big and generous compliments a person can come up with when they're talking about their offspring's, offspring. I was next. How lucky was I to have a Grandma who could find something wonderful to say about anyone. How lucky was I to be on the verge being lavished with words of praise. I braced myself. I told myself that when the time for her to shower me with my compliments to hold back the smile that surely would want to burst from my face. Be cool Laurel, be cool. Just give a humble smirk and a thank you after Grandma commends you. You don't hear these things a lot but don't look too excited. Be cool.
So Grandma turned to me and with a smile on her face said...
Oh boy. What treats does she have in store for me!?
"Laurel. Hmm. Laurel." Now she had a puzzled look on her face. A puzzled look? What could that be about? And then she giggled and giggles were not a good sign.
"Well I'm sure I can think of..." and she finished the sentence with a giggly "something?".
Now giggles from everyone around the table. Giggle heard around the globe, I'm SURE. And my face, I know it was turning red. All eyes were on me.
"Oh dear" she said "I'll have to get back to you."
Wuh wuhhh of the century.
Grandma will get back to me. She'll get back to me? Nothing? You've got nothing? How about a generalized "you're smart"? Perhaps you like my hair? Maybe I'm a good friend. That's always a good standby. I've heard that one before. You could tell the crowd that I pour a mean bowl of cereal. Something. Surely you can think of something!
Everyone's faces turned into shocked, "I'm sorry" faces.
Grandma finished her circle of love and got back to me to no avail. But its cool guys, the story doesn't end there.
The next day my cousins, siblings and I spent the day making our own home video version of "Ricki Lake". I played a hooker of some sort but the details aren't important. What's important is that that night I went to bed thinking, now I know I've made her proud. Smart, classy, and straight laced. I'm practically handing the compliment suggestions right to her. You're welcome Grandma. You're welcome. And she never doubted my gifts (or my classiness) ever again. (I just know it!)
The proof of my awesomeness (and Taylor, Amy, and Abby's awesomeness too) is written all over this picture from that day.
*And by the way it should be noted that I still thought my Grandma was an angel. I'm sure she was just overwhelmed by all the talent at the table that she just couldn't keep it all straight. :)
I love you Grandma!
But don't be surprised if I curl into the fetal position when I hear the phrase "Let me get back to you."
What's your funniest, saddest, most ridiculous, or most whatever, Thanksgiving memory? I'd love to hear about it.