Pristinely dressed in her suit with that signature silk scarf tied perfectly around her neck. Red lips with a soft spritz of Chanel No.5. Proper and classy, yet never snobby. A warm smile and cheerful spirit. A genuine love for those less fortunate than herself that always inspired one to be a better person. Unconditionally loving, with a genuine desire to know her grandchildren for who they truly were. The list goes on and on.
If you can imagine such a woman- my grandmother.
The loving woman of whom I am proudly named, recently passed earlier this year. It was a bitter-sweet time for me as it happened right in the midst of the birth and homecoming of my first baby boy. I was able to laugh and cry with her in her last days as well as introduce to her, her first great grandson. Though unable to speak in her final moments of life, a beautiful picture is engraved in my mind of her touching her fingertips to her mouth and placing them on her great grandson as representation of a kiss. I am so happy he was able to meet such an amazing woman in my life.
I was very close to Mama Sara- especially in my childhood through my tween years when I lived close to her. Every other weekend, it was "off to grandmother's house we go". Her home was a large, traditional home in Atllanta, reminiscent of a beautiful southern plantation. I was recently given some of the artwork that once adorned it's walls. I will always treasure them and remember her through them.
Those weekends on Hillswick Court, we would wake up to the smell of eggs and bacon. Always served up with warm buttered toast and orange marmalade with a small glass of orange juice served in her special "grandchildren cups".
She would give us little chores to do around her home, but somehow had a way of making them fun and always infusing life lessons along the way. When we completed our chores, she rewarded us with a small allowance and always allowed us plenty of playtime. There was a fantastic swingset in her back yard and the most magnificent magnolia tree in the front. Both perfect for climbing all over and swinging from. She always taught us to be polite and engage the neighbors in small talk.
Later in the afternoon, she would load us up in the car for an afternoon of meals on wheels, where we would deliver meals and spend quality time with the elderly. Helping and loving the less fortunate and displaced, was among the highest priorities in her life and was her way of being Jesus to others. A lesson she always made clear through her life.
After meals on wheels, she would take us on a journey of our favorite consignment shops. This is where I originally developed my addiction for cheap boutique clothes and a stubborn unwillingness to pay full price for anything. It was always the highlight of the trip for a young granddaughter. Ill never forget one consignment store in particular called "Reruns". It was a quaint bungalow with lots of rooms and windows - and full of the most beautiful little girls' dresses! Anything I batted my eyelashes at, she would swipe up and add it to the tab...of course after explaining to me the importance of proper saving- A penny saved is a penny earned!
There were many occasions I bonded with Mama Sara on a very personal level. I will never forget the time we sat in her sunroom. I was at a place in my life where I expressed myself through rebellion to my parents and all authority. I wore my hair over my eyes and didn't smile much in those days. I can remember her conversing with me about her own life as a teenager and her struggles. That day, she broke through the hard barrier and from that time on I have always known I could talk to her about anything. She would relate and then lovingly point me in the right direction. She was one of the few I felt I could talk to and I will always remember that particular day that I poured my heart out to her and she loved me all the more for it.
She was a dream grandmother to grow up with. Though many years have passed since these childhood memoirs, my treasury of memories make it feel like it was yesterday.
As I sit here with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, I hear her voice as she introduces me with the utmost pride and a warm smile, as her namesake.