Things My Grandmother Taught Me

I was about 5 years old when I started taking piano lessons. I remember my grandmother, affectionately called MawMaw, would drive me to Mrs. McClure’s house, where I would have my lessons in her front parlor. MawMaw would wait in the car, usually, and would always ask me how the lesson went. Mrs. McClure was a stickler for practicing and had all her students keep practice logs, which I think had to be signed off by a parent or guardian, as an acknowledgement of how much time was actually spent on the piano bench.

MawMaw had an egg timer that she would put on the piano and I was not allowed to stop playing until the timer went off. I cherish the times when I would come home from school, play my scales and pieces, while MawMaw prepared dinner in the kitchen, just an earshot away from the piano. I both loved and hated that egg timer!

In addition to my piano lessons, I also took dance class and most likely, it was MawMaw who drove me there. I remember performing my dance numbers and piano pieces for my family in preparation for upcoming recitals. I got very familiar with being in the spotlight from the many musical and creative opportunities I had as a child. Singing in front of the church congregation, dancing, playing piano, acting in plays, and showcasing my art pieces were all outlets for my creativity.

Thank God for the egg timer!

In my last blog, I wrote about “The D Word” – discipline. No doubt, the egg timer on the piano helped to instill discipline in my life, as did the example MawMaw showed me of having a routine of making dinner for the family, keeping a clean house, always doing the laundry before it would pile up, and resting in the afternoon. Everyone knew not to call MawMaw from 1-3 pm during ‘nap time.’

In addition to learning discipline in practicing and growing in my gifts and talents, I learned meal planning and how to be frugal while shopping from MawMaw. She loved to make delicious food for friends and family. As with most grandmothers, I imagine, you never went hungry when visiting her house! She would make popcorn for an after school snack so we kids could have something to eat while we did our homework. She would always have dinner on the table when my grandfather AKA PawPaw came home from work. She was great at using up all the vegetables in the fridge before they went bad and freezing leftovers for the days she didn’t feel like cooking much.

I learned the value of friendships from her as well, as often she would sit outside and have a later afternoon coffee with her lifelong friends that lived in the apartment complex. As Miss Mildred and Mrs. Matlock got older and passed away, I remember MawMaw grieving the loss of her friends, but looking forward to the reunion in Heaven.

Easter Sunday photo, circa 1978, with my brother, MawMaw and PawPaw

MawMaw prayed diligently for everyone and while she was able, always sat in the same pew at church. When she got older and couldn’t get out as much, she watched services on TV and always read her Daily Devotional Bible.

It was difficult for all of us when she passed away. I will never forget the prophetic gift that my niece shared with my sister and me when we visited MawMaw the day before she died in 2014. My niece, all of 4 years old, knew MawMaw was going to be with Jesus and within 12 hours, she did.

I am not sure why I have been thinking of MawMaw. Perhaps with all the uncertainty of the world, the pandemic, the racial tensions and political climate of today, I am missing simpler times.

No doubt I have established my own routines this year, disciplining myself to grow deeper in my relationship with God, creating a stable household with home-cooked meals, and having consistent creative outlets with writing, teaching voice lessons, playing piano, and singing.

Even though 6 years has passed since MawMaw left the earth, I still think about everything she taught me, and I am grateful. My prayer is that as we all are navigating grief, loss, fear, and uncertainty, we all can remember the lessons from our past. Instead of dwelling on the worries of today, let’s all find gratitude for the things that have had a lasting impact in our lives, that have helped us become the people we are today.

Let’s LEAP with hearts of thankfulness towards each other, embracing family and friends that have come and gone in our lives, and let’s lead with love.

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