I remember how we did everything together. You could say we were connected at the hip. We were always together. We had numerous sleepovers. If I was with her I didn’t mind if I didn’t make it home. Her home was my home. My heart would warm as soon as I’d see her house come into view. I’d bounce down the steps of the driveway and swing open the screen door and I’d always find her in one of two places. As soon as I’d get in through the front door she’d be sitting in her chair in the middle of the room, perfectly positioned in direct line across from the TV. On bad days I could burst through the front door and run straight into her arms and curl up in her lap in her chair, completely safe. We’d also spend long mornings in front of the TV, me bumming on the love seat, she’d be in her chair, we’d be watching The Price is Right, my favorite was when the contestants got to play the Plinko game. I was always captivated by Bob Barker’s skinny microphone and his ability to engage his audience. We watched almost every episode of the I Love Lucy show and we’d laugh and laugh until we couldn’t breathe and then watch another episode. We also watched many interviews on the Sally Jesse Raphael talk show, but my favorite interview was when Sally brought the entire cast of Sesame Street on and I was able to see Big Bird get interviewed.
When she was kneading dough for frybread she’d sit on the edge of the coffee table right in front of the TV while her favorite soap opera played. I’d sit right behind her on the coffee table and every few minutes she’d tear off a piece of dough for me to nibble on. Her second favorite place in the house was the kitchen. She was always cooking something so that meant we were always eating. She was the best cook; her dishes comforted your soul. She was such a thoughtful cook and always made my favorite things each dish truly made with love. Everything she did for me was truly an act of love. One time she used a strip of a dish rag to tie the house key to my shoe just so I wouldn’t lose it, and would have a way to get into the house when she wasn’t going to be there. So silly but that simple act I’ve never been able to forget.
I think that grandmothers have that gift though. They do the simplest things that melt your heart and make you feel so loved. Ask anyone, there is no one like their grandma. My Grandma Dixon was definitely a woman unlike any other. Her presence inspired me and left a sweet impression on my heart. She loved so deeply and always opened her home for everyone to come and feel the love that she was pouring out. If it was a perfect stranger that she could serve a hot meal to or her family, it was all the same to her. From her examples I learned the significance of the gift of hospitality. Her ability to love so intensely and intentionally changed my world and always drew me into her. I never wanted to leave her side. She was my best friend and was the first person I learned to love so deeply.
When her health declined and eventually took her from me I was devastated. She was too young. I was too young, only in elementary school at the time, and this loss was profound. As a child this was a harsh reality check that the moments that we have with people are so precious and once the time has passed, it’s just gone. Although I’m so blessed to have been loved so deeply and to have had my life touched by an angel I still mourn for the time that we lost. The countless coffee dates we would have had, the weekend road trips I’d have taken to visit her and update her on my life, the cooking lessons we would have had. Or all the times we’d watch reruns of I Love Lucy and continue to laugh like it was the first time. I miss the phone calls I would have made to ask for advice when I felt lost in the world and I’m sure she would have encouraged me and told me how much she loved me and my world would be right again. I miss her at every milestone and lunch that I have with my mom. At every family dinner, every holiday and I’m sure I’ll continue to miss her as I grow my own family. I miss her on the days when I just want to go home and run into her house and jump into her lap and sink into her sweet embrace. I miss her always.