Monday, August 6, 2012

Farewell Beautiful Lady

Gaylee Ankerstjerne Ward, 1934-2012

Not in any particular order, I jotted down some random memories of you.  I am placing them here where my girls will be albe to read them and where I can come back and reflect on them.  You are loved, you are beautiful, and you are missed.  I am proud to call you my Mom!

I remember the time we traveled to Iowa just the two of us. The long stretches of highway and farmland were rather boring, so we decided to take pictures of interesting barns we found along the way. It made for a very long commute but we had the best time on our seek & find adventure. We also enjoyed traveling to Kentucky to visit crazy Betty, and to Florida to visit Chris. What fun travel adventures we’ve had over the years. We didn’t get too lost ever, although you were quick to point out when youthought I was doing something wrong. I’m the same way. In fact when I give Rick directions now it just makes me chuckle because I know I’m being just like you.  As kids we always traveled to Iowa. And without fail we all knew when we hit the Mississippi River because you were in the front seat yelling outthe windows “I’m coming home! Followed by the Iowa corn song. “ I-o-way, I-o-way, that’s where the tall corn grows!” We joined along- because it was your tradition – so it became our tradition! Such the mother who is always concerned that everyone else is happy – you were always offering us snacks, puzzle books, blankets – whatever you could think that we might need as we traveled along. Even as adults I remember telling you "we’re fine mom, " but it never stopped you from suggesting or worrying about us – and I do the exact same thing with my girls today! 

I remember when Ellie was born – you were at Wendy and Matt’s house babysitting Jack. Ellie arrived bright and early in the morning. But you answered the phone in the middle of the night and left it off hook, so no one could call you to share the news! I arrived wearing pink first thing the next day to share the news in person – and take you with me to see Ellie at the hospital. You were so elated, and it was so fun for me to be the one to get to share the news with you!

Planning my wedding was also an adventure we shared. You swore up and down we needed to have a brunch, and I fought you on everything! You graciously let me win, listened when you needed to, and had good ideas when it came to planning the entire event. You were so incredibly excited for me. You couldn’t wait to share in my joy.

When I was the Lay Director on the Chrysalis team I was so proud to have you be a part of my team and share in the weekend with me. The girls whosat at your table were lucky – they got to share you for that weekend!

When I had my girls, you and Dad were there to witness the big events. You and Jill and Dad helped get in on the name game when naming Lucy,although, you thought Gaylen was a nice name. You didn’t know my girls long but you made a lasting impression. When sorting through photos,which I just happen to have a few of, even Caroline would see your picture and say that’s me and Grandma. I love my grandma. Because every time you saw them – you offered that love to them! When I was on maternity leave with Caroline you used to come to our apartment and do my laundry and watch her so I could rest. Of course I didn’t rest much because I wanted to see what you two were up to. You would just sit with her on your legs and read books to her. She loved every minute.
You loved your grandkids more than anything. You always had supplies on hand to do arts and crafts, decorate and bake cookies, puzzles, playdough – whatever you could to be sure that when your grandkids came they would have a good time.

As a kid, I remember the Christmas morning we were all fighting over our toys and you threw them out in the snow! I think you got our attention! I’m pretty sure we were grateful for all of our toys every day after that episode!

You also used to hide money around the house so we would find it if we cleaned. Remember the time we called you crying when we swept up a dollar bill? That was before the days of canister vacuums!

There are many more memories I have, and as I have time, I'll be writing them down for my girls to share with them someday.  You are too special of a lady for them not to know who their Grandma Ward is. 
There’s no one out there with prettier handwriting, more compassion, and more love and pride for her family than you.  You are one strong, incredible woman.  I'm proud to be your kid, and I miss you so much already.  Every time I want to hang a picture on my wall, or rearrange my furniture I'm thinking "what would mom do?" or "what would she say?"  Even though we've butted heads over the years, I can only hope to be half the mom you were.  Goodbye special lady.  Thank you for putting up with me, loving me, guiding me, supporting me, questioning me, listening to me, holding me, and pushing me.  Your legacy lives on.

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