Hi, I’m Amanda and I’m Rosemary’s granddaughter. I am here to give you my perspective of what it was like growing up with our 100 lb of pure Irish joy. You know her as Rosemary, but to me she has always been known as “Gram”. Growing up with Gram was AMAZING. My brother and I always had a playmate, an ear eager to listen, and a songbook of old tunes. The three of us shared a bond that stretch beyond our generational gap. Our Gram was our secret keeper, and man could she keep a secret. Here are a few examples.
My highschool sweetheart and I would watch movies late into the night and fall asleep in each others arms – our favorite past time. More times that I’d like to admit, Gram would catch us fast asleep on the couch, well past our curfew. She would wiggle his toes until he would wake up and whisper, “Time to hit the road, Will” and never speak of it again. I was never embarrassed, because I trusted my secret was safe with Gram – and it was. Well into our 2 years of being married to that same high school sweetheart, Gram decided it was time to share the secret with my mother.
One Christmas, my brother and I had an idea to recreate our childhood photos with our newly adult selves as a christmas gift to our parents. Grandma was present for ALL of it. One specific photo involved a christmas tree in the background. My brother and I had to move the christmas tree from our formal living room, to the family room. In doing so, we spilled the entire tree stand, full of stagnant tree water all over the carpet. Oh, I’m sorry, I failed to mention my parents had just finished replacing the carpet with brand new carpet just a week prior. Our Gram witnessed the horrible act that had just been committed, and calmly walked over to her bedroom only to return with a stack of towels and a portable heater. She looked at my brother and I, signaled buttoning her mouth with our secret and it was never spoken of again. The three of us giggled as we cleaned up puddles of tree water off of the brand new carpet. Again, Gram proved her trust by never speaking of this incident… I guess now my mom and dad will know!
My Gram is and always has been my safe space and my best friend. From sharing my elementary school crush, to my goals at soccer games my Gram was there to share all of my life experiences. She showed me the importance of having a relationship with the older generation. My brother and I saw how young we made her through our life experiences. Gram never felt like an old lady to us, she was full of life and chose to live alive and joyously.
Our bond has moved on from keeping my secrets to sharing marriage advice and deep conversations about our life purpose. Over the last 9 years, my relationship with Gram has been purely long distance, but my heart has never felt the distance until this last year. I cherish my phone calls and revisiting past memories with her. However, there are times when I see my mother calling and wonder if it’s the call, the call that brings me to my knees, shatters my world, and shares with me the reality that my Gram has gone home. The idea of receiving that phone call tosses my stomach like an open ocean. Losing my best friend has been an unrelieved knot in my throat for years.
Since the blessing bike, I oddly haven’t felt the angst of that potential call. Knowing that my Gram is happy, genuinely happy with her life, her daily bike rides and her close relationship with my retired mom, gives me peace. Peace I haven’t had for many years. Rosemary has reached this new chapter of her long life that oozes with content and gratefulness. She has touched so many lives spreading her love and joy. I am grateful for what this Blessing Bike has given to my Gram and the potential of what it can give to other elderly people.