not long ago i wondered if i’d ever see my nan again…this week we did.  she came down with my folks and left us with memories that only she could give.

as she entered our home for the first time ever, her eyes grew wide, then squinted quickly.  she said, “well, my kristin, this home will provide you with a lifetime of work.  you can work and work and work here until you die.”  yes, i think i can.

micah's view

i had a comrade at meal times…she’d graciously pick the meat out of her pasta.  pass the chicken for our big salads on down.  ask for an egg scramble without the ham but with extra peppers.

we turned over more ground for a garden, her complaining the whole time that these tools were made for big men, not like hers which is perfect for a woman.  she was sure that there was a better way to do the same job, but she wouldn’t sit, would seldom take a drink of water, and three generations readied the ground for more vegetables.  i’m sure they will be sweeter because of it.

old quilt

we looked at things old, things new.  she was amazed at eliza’s loud presence in the world saying that she would never forget that shrill voice.  micah gravitated to her knowing which ear to speak into, which eye to look into. naomi waited until evening when the younger two went to bed.  then they sat at the piano together comparing songs they knew by ear.  nan would read her pages of streams of thoughts.

cat drawing lessons

making a dust storm

her awe at the game of “making a dust storm” was only one of the moments she shook her head at the kids’ activities or behavior.  at one point when eliza was eating a little cream container, nan shook her head and i said, “you’re the one with 13 kids, help me!”  she went on to make a funny face which eliza imitated and out popped the cream container.  thank you, nan.

i have been moved many times by nan’s persistent strength, her faith, her ease at giving authority and power over while keeping enough for herself.  this mama of 13, grandmother of dozens, great grandmother of several has found a way to make life work for her.  i heard about the letter she left on her door should someone find her after she died. when my folks went to pick her up for this trip, my dad took a photo for me.  my favorite line:  “please do not disturb this last bit of my earthly departure from here to eternity- but you continue to give solace and hope to the living in the savior’s name.”  that’s my nan.

nan's last wishes

may i please have this confidence.

and perhaps the most comical part of our trip was her annoyance that we don’t have cable to give her a 24 hour news station so she could watch obama updates.  this is a canadian woman completely engaged with his charisma and messages of hope…enough to paint a picture of him.

nan draws obama

12 thoughts on “nan

  1. Oh, Krisitn, I could just weep at this post. What an amazing character she is. I don’t think I’ve seen her since your wedding – almost 13 years ago!! But the stories are so vivid! What a precious, precious, precious bit of life.


  2. Your Nan sounds like a real fire cracker…What a gift to have her come spend time at your home, with your little ones, those memories will live on forever, probably for all of you!


  3. I loved reading that! It so reminds me of my grandma and then my mom as well. I lost my grandma when i was 7 months pregnant with my now 18 year old daughter. Mom left us a year ago february. They were both such amazing women of faith and grace and had so much love for their families. But they were also both very perschnickity and loved to make faces and comments about how things were done when they were young mom’s and wives. I miss them both dearly! Hold on to those memories with both hands and all your heart! And tell your kids often of her and of everything you can remember of her. Her’s will be the legacy that they look to years after they are parents as well!


  4. (Note from Dad: This evening we viewed your post of her visit. Her first response was: “It makes one feel very humble — and grateful.” I transcribed Nan’s comments as she continued talking. I did my best to catch everything she said. I know I missed a few of her comments, but not many. Enjoy!)

    “I feel very privileged to be able to be with you — as my mother used to say — children this may be the last time — but still we go on from there. I was glad to see that you have full control of all the rooms you live in. I know there are some hidden rooms that I didn’t have a chance to see and to figure out how to organize. I’m sure your husband will help you figure it out. It was wonderful to be with you and the grand children.

    Here I am with your dad and mom — they’ve been so kind — what shall I say — they are my children — they’re working so hard — reaching out to children. Especially after church today — when I saw your mother with two young boys praying with them. The same as your dad who gave encouragement to another young man right in front of me. That’s what we’re supposed to do. When we see someone in pain, or someone who’s sad, or someone happy — we should go up to them and say: The Lord loves you.

    So dear children — I commit you to the Lord for one day at a time. There’s no use planning — your plans don’t turn out that way anyway. Someone will come along and mess with them.

    Your dad is typing everything I’m saying so fast. I’m trying to be nice. Oh yes! You should have seen your Dad driving. The curves!!! If the sign said 30, he would take it at 60! Anyway, I don’t know how to explain it, but I rocked back and forth and we laughed and shrieked. I shall remember it as long as I live. What fun!!!!

    Today we’ve just been eating. I met many nice and loving people. Oh yes! And the Thrift store. That’s a favorite place to go. I had to buy another suitcase to pack all the stuff I bought. My stuff has to look nice because otherwise Marne will have something to say. I was going to use a plastic bag, but Marne would want something to look nice.

    Bonnie made buns. Charles had to put them in the oven because Bonnie and I were out getting my hair done. I made “Ruebble Platz” — now the zwieback are already old. For lunch we went to Saravans. Oh the ladies looked so dressed up, hats and all. And one man came in all dressed up in his tan suit. Wonderful.

    I’m ready to go home. I’m tired, but I know I’m still supposed to be nice. I have to show my best manners. I have to be kind.

    That’s it. Bye-bye children!”

    There ya go. She says she will send you a letter.

    Love you much,



  5. Oh my. I love your reflections on your Nan’s visit. I had the pleasure of saying “hello” on Sunday and getting a kind hug from your Nan. :)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s