Friday, November 23, 2007

a fantastic grandma

Today is Brett's Grandma Dori's 90th birthday. Of course there is a big (surprise!) party for her later today, with tons of friends and family coming in from all over the country to celebrate with her. I am so happy that we're able to be here for this!

Grandma Dori is a very special lady. She welcomed me with open arms into her family when Brett and I started dating 9 years ago, and has loved me and treated me like one of her own grandchildren ever since. That inclusiveness is really special to me, especially as my own grandma passed away in 2001. I remember saying to Grandma Dori shortly after my grandma died that since I didn't have any grandmas anymore, I was glad to have her. She gave me a huge hug.

I love just sitting and talking with her, about her childhood, about the early years of her marriage to Brett's late Grandpa Big Al, about being a mom during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, about her years of traveling all over the world with Grandpa Big Al, about her collection of recipes and household hints -- pretty much anything and everything.

Bottom line, Grandma Dori is funny, and witty, and just a joy to be around. Although she is a true product of her generation, always conducting herself as a lady, every now and then, we'll be chatting and she'll let some extremely hilarious and snarky comment slip. I love it when she does that!

She's also perceptive and intuitive. After a family wedding this year (I can't remember if it was Brett's sister's or Brett's cousin's wedding), she knew I was exhausted and still having nausea and that I needed to go home and lie down. She got a determined look in her eye, winked at me, and started making all kinds of noise about how it was time for us to get out of there and she needed to go home. It was fantastic. We've definitely been allies over the past few months since both of us get tired easily these days.

Ask anyone in Brett's family to tell you something about Grandma Dori and I am certain that one of the most mentioned items would be her pancakes. She makes the best pancakes in the entire world. I'm serious. They are incredible. Brett has looked over her shoulder time after time, trying to observe every little nuance of how she makes them in an effort to be able to replicate them. While his are good, they are no match to Grandma Dori's. Thin, and moist, and steamy, with some syrup on top...mmmm. There is nothing like them in the world.

Even at 90 years old, she still makes them for us every time we ask. We'll all head over to Grandma's in the morning, and when we arrive, we'll pull up a seat at the breakfast bar overlooking the kitchen. She'll pour us a glass of juice (usually we have the choice of orange or cranberry) and hand us a banana to eat while we wait, all the while chatting with us as we drink our juice and read the paper. Then, slowly, batch by tasty batch, she'll cook pancakes for each of us, and we'll take turns having seconds, and even sometimes thirds.

I love those times, sitting at the breakfast bar, talking to her about everything and eating her yummy pancakes. Both the pancakes and the time spent with her are truly a treasure.

I'm sure she'd probably be mortified if she knew I posted this here, but this is a photo that captures the feel of those pancake mornings. Brett took it while we were eating pancakes on the day after his sister's wedding last summer (hence his mom's Mother-of-the-Bride shirt). You can see the breakfast bar in the background.

I'm so very thankful for Grandma Dori, that she was born and that she has played the role she has in both Brett's life and in mine.

Happy Birthday, Grandma! I love you!

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