Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Money Doesn't Equal Love

This precious little girl is my first grandchild, My Sunshine, Eleni Renee. My daughter named her after my Mawmaw, Elena.  Being Eleni's Mimi is such a joy. Thanks to my daughter and son-in-law, I was blessed to be there when she drew her first breath.  Thanks to God, she lives across the field from me and I can see her every day.  From day one I have called her My Sunshine because no matter how rough things get, and they do get rough, she comes into the room and I cannot help but feel joy.

Three years ago I had to quit my job because of serious health problems.  Since then my husband and I have struggled, to say the least.  It is difficult not being able to help my children financially.  I often feel guilty for getting sick.  It is also difficult not to be able to buy little Eleni all of the things that I want to buy for her.  I see dolls and cute little outfits, and I just want her to have them.  Then I think of my Mawmaw.

My grandmother didn't have a lot of money, but I never seemed to notice.  She gave me so much of her time and her love that material objects just didn't matter.  I knew that she could not afford much, so when she did give me something, anything, I treasured it.  Year after year, I watched her save her coins in a bag that she hid in her bureau.  When Christmas Time came around, everyone would get something.  She couldn't drive, so she would give my mother the money that she had set aside for me and tell her to buy me something that I wanted.  When we went over to her house on Christmas Eve to open gifts, I was happy with whatever she bought for me, but I was even more happy to just be there with her.  Besides that, her food, especially her cake, was enough to make me happy!  All of these years later, I can still taste her homemade chocolate pecan cake.  She made the simplest things so damn special!  I will find that recipe and post it here before the Holidays.

Like my grandmother, I can't give Eleni a lot of material possessions, but I can show her every day how much I love her.  I sometimes have to stop myself from kissing on that child so she can breathe!  Like my grandmother did for me, I will bake her cookies, make her pancakes, stay up late and watch television with her, and most of all, love her to pieces.  I could not for the life of me tell you about any presents that I opened at my Mawmaw's house, but I can still hear the French songs that she sang to me, I can still feel the prickly curlers that she let me put into her hair when I was bored, and I can still feel the warmth of every time she held me when I was sad.  The gifts that she gave me were priceless; they showed me in countless ways that she loved me beyond anything I could understand until I held Eleni.

Mawmaw's Money Lessons:

- She never charged anything.  She saved until she could buy it with cash.
-She never spent change, particularly dimes (her favorite).  They went into her little bag so that when Christmas came around, she just had to start wrapping coins.
-She made a lot of her own clothes and saved her "good clothes" for special occasions.  One of my biggest regrets is that I never asked her to teach me to sew.
-She cooked (or reheated leftovers) every day.  Once she splurged and took the whole family out to eat at Ryan's, the buffet restaurant.  When the waitress came over and asked her if she wanted a plate for the potato bar, she made us all laugh our asses off when she looked at her like she was crazy and asked in her thick cajun accent, "Is that extra?"   She was frugal, but always generous.  When someone gives you something and you know that they had to sacrifice and save for it, it is so much more meaningful.  I'm sure she would have loved to have bought new dresses or new shoes more often, but instead she spent her rolled up dimes on her family.  That's love!
-Finally, she made a grocery list and did not get ANYTHING that was not on that list.  When I started driving, she sent me to the grocery store with her list.  One time I bought her something that wasn't on the list and she actually made me bring it back to the store.  Lesson learned.  Now I get it, Mawmaw.