I am very fortunate that I still have a Grandmother around – my Mum’s Mum – and also an ‘honorary’ one!
The honorary Grandma is actually my best friend’s Grandma – but she’s been in my life for almost 30 years – and she thinks of me as one of her own grandchildren. One of my favourite memories of her and Grandad (who sadly passed away last year) was the ‘post A levels’ holiday my BFF and I went on with them to a camp site on the west coast of France.
We had our own mobile home – but spent lots of time with G&G as they are just such fun. Grandad would go and fetch the croissants for us every morning – but rather than leave them on the step whilst we did the teenage thing of sleeping in, he would construct a tower from tables and chairs and balance them on the top so we could see them when we opened the caravan curtains!!
And then there was the infamous night of the ‘bad moule’ – where I was throwing up what looked like concrete and Grandma was convinced this was to do with dodgy shellfish (not the 2 litres of French white wine my 18 year old self had drunk!!)
When we got back to the UK – and got our results – Grandma took great pleasure in shouting out of her door that her Grandaughters had got 8 A levels between them!! One of my kids’ highlights of this summer was actually going up and down on Grandma’s stairlift!!
Both honorary Grandma and my Nan are the same age (and spookily went to the same school in Birmingham as girls, although didn’t know each other) – which means they were both about the same age as my eldest daughter at the outbreak of World War 2. When the children have done projects about World War 2 and evacuees they were able to talk to my Nan all about it – as she was evacuated from inner city Birmingham to Burton upon Trent. She talks of going into school in her best coat, with a tag around her neck and her gas mask and being sent off to a school in Burton where local families could come and pick who they wanted. I don’t think it was a particularly enjoyable experience for Nan – and she came back to Brum as soon as she could as she missed her family so much. How amazing that someone can talk about what happened to her when it’s a topic you read about in the history books or see in films – and how lucky my kids are to be able to talk to these ladies with such interesting history.
Nan and Grandad (who sadly died in his early 50s – and yet seemed like such an ‘old man’ to me back then) met, married and went on to have my Mum and 4 other children – so even more kids than me! But no washing machine / dishwasher / fridge / car – it was a much more physically demanding role than for me now. Seeing Nan in her warden controlled flat now, eating her M&S meals as it saves cooking for just her – I can’t imagine her running a house with all of those kids in those conditions – she must have been such a strong woman (even at just over five foot tall).
When I was expecting baby number 4 my consultant wanted to induce me (apparently it’s risky with number 4 or more to go overdue – and I’d had to be induced with 2 of the other 3 anyway, with the other one being a week late when he came of his own accord, so induction was likely to be on the cards at some point). It was November 2011 – so the fact I have massive number OCD meant I wanted 11th November (what a cool date of birth would that have been?) – but he was already fully booked for c-sections. So instead we went for November 9th – my Nan’s 83rd birthday – what an exciting present for her – her 9th great grandchild (to add to the 12 grandchildren). As she pointed out – at least we’d remember it when she’s gone (always glass half full, that’s Nan!!)
My parents do a lot for Nan as geographically they are the closest of her children – and when they’re away I take on the mantle of ‘milk deliverer and bill payer’. Nan always says ‘you don’t need to come, you’ve got so much to do with the kids and business’ – but I know how much it means to her – and I know how much it would mean to some of my friends who no longer have their Nans to go and visit. So a (china) mug of tea and an egg custard at Nan’s little flat it is!