Tonight I couldn't sleep.
This is a fairly regular occurrence for me and when it happens I just get up. No use staying in bed counting sheep. I grab my cozy robe (because the house is so cold at night), fix a mug of something hot, and turn on my computer. Sometimes God uses the time to work thoughts out in my head. Sometimes I just do silly chores that are easier to do when the house is completely quiet.
Tonight when I pulled a mug out of the cupboard my hand found one of my four rooster mugs. They used to belong to my Grandma Rue. I had given them to her. In her later years she would put stickers on the bottom of things that were given to her with the name of the giver, anticipating the day she would be gone, wanting to make sure that the giver got them back. I got the rooster mugs back, along with her everyday china (which I had not given her). And I am grateful because every time my hand finds one of these mugs I think about Grandma Rue. She liked chickens.
As many family relationships are, I felt my relationship with my grandma was complicated. I didn't feel like she liked me. I knew she loved me, but I never felt assured that she liked me. We lived thousands of miles apart. Our time in each other's company was limited to our annual trip to Pennsylvania to visit family, a couple of weeks each summer. Not a lot of time to grow a deep affection for one another. Though there was never any memorable criticism from her, neither was there a gush of affirmation.
My kids have two grandmas who live much closer. Neither one is too busy to come play with her grandkids. (Amazingly what could be said about one is easily said about the other.) I watch my kids scurry to the door when they see Grandma coming and it never ceases to amaze me the delight they feel in her presence. Even when she's exhausted from working all day her face lights up when Daniel climbs up beside her on the couch and hurriedly insists he needs to show her his latest Lego creation. I appreciate how blessed my children are. They don't doubt they are loved; even more precious in my mind, they don't doubt they are liked either.
I think Grandma Rue might like me better today. She definitely would have liked my husband. I picked a very good man to marry. His value of extended family has taught me that cultivating these family relationships requires a lot of time, discipline, and sometimes sacrificing what you'd rather be doing, none of which is easy for me. I try a lot more than I used to. I like to imagine that if my grandma had lived to see me married with children she would have enjoyed my company more. I am certain I would have enjoyed hers.