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In a Grandma Jean State of Mind

alec vanderboom

I preformed an indulgence on "Christ the King" Sunday for my grandmother Jean's mother, (my great-grandma Ruth). It was an amazing experience to take communion for someone who suffered so much during her life, yet who never got to "taste Jesus."

Grandma Jean must have done cartwheels over that act because I've felt her loving presence in everything this Advent season. I've started calling it "my Grandma Jean Christmas."

First, I not only volunteered to host a cocktail party for Jon's office, I also spent 3 hours polishing my Grandma Jean's antique punchbowl. This is so NOT me! I completely rolled my eyes when my mother brought over a cracked bowl from my grandmas attic. "Hmm, thanks" I mumbled as my interior voice said "Why are you bringing this useless thing to me? Don't you realize that I have no closet space!"

Rather than being useless, my 5 year old daughter and I had a blast polishing the silver punch set together. The bowl was the hit of the party. I realize that when you live in a humble space with children's finger prints all over the mirror you just cleaned, it's nice to have at least one gleaming piece of company silver. Those 1950s housewives knew what they were doing!

Grandma Jean also nudged me to volunteer to knit a leper bandage. (I hope to post a picture soon). She's the one who taught me how to knit in elementary school. My first creation was supposed to be a scarf, but I ended up splitting my stitches badly. 20 stitches became 96 by the end of my creation. (For non-knitters that meant my scarf started at 2 inches across and ended up being over 1 1/2 feet across.) The leper bandage is a bit of a challenge, but its also fun. I pray to Blessed Father Damien during each row. Somehow I've tied Father Damien and our President Elect together in my mind (they are both from Hawaii). So during my knitting work I talk to Father Damien about changing the heart of President Obama. Every line of stitching is time in prayer I've spent rallying against the FOCA.

Finally, there's the music. Grandma Jean had these super silly songs she sang every time we came for a visit. The one that sticks in my head is "If I knew You were Coming I'd Baked You Cake." I seriously hadn't thought of that song since the late 1980s, yet this Advent I sing it all of the time. The best part is that my daughter Hannah LOVES it. I'll post a You Tube video so you can enjoy it too. It makes a nice accompaniment to your Christmas baking.