Though I had felt my daughter’s kicks on other occasions, never were they stronger, or more chilling, than at my Grammy’s funeral mass. Seated in the front row with my entire family, I was almost winded by my soon-to-be-born daughter’s presence; a reminder that as we said goodbye to the matriarch, role model and rock of my family–a new sweet life would soon be on its way.
Now that she was physically gone, how could I keep my Grammy’s memory alive for my daughter? How could I make her more than a beautiful woman in a picture frame in our living room?
While webcams have helped make long distance families closer, there is no technology that will bring our deceased loved ones into our children’s tangible life. That said, there is so much we can do to build a relationship and connection, even when a hug can never be shared.
Having been raised in a very Italian-American family, both being in the kitchen and respecting and creating traditions, are important parts of the culture. This has led me to develop a favorite, and most instinctual way to bring my Grammy into my daughter’s young life.
Celebrating my Grandma’s birthday…
Every 26 of September, I pull out her old Sunbeam mixer–the one she used at my age religiously (it still works!)–put on old school Italian music, and bake a birthday treat that I know my Grandma would have loved. While my daughter was only 3 months old when I started this last year, and was still a young toddler for year two, I like to think that this annual celebration will give us an extra special reason to pause and talk about my memories of her and share the life lessons she taught me.
From the thrown flour and sing-song, to the serious reflection, my hope is that my daughter will, in a way, have her own special memories of her great grandma, honor her legacy and look forward to her birthday every year too!