If you knew my Grandmother for more than 30 minutes, then my name is probably familiar to you. Though she had 10 perfect grandchildren, I, Jody, was “special.” When my brothers used to make fun of me for being “special” which often meant getting special treatment, or a special trinket or a special treat, I told them, “Hey, you have no idea how many games of SkipBo it takes to make a person “special!”
While they were out shooting frogs with BB guns, or *ahem* shooting each other with BB guns, I was in being “special,” playing SkipBo at the card table set up in Grandmother’s living room, eating gumdrops by the mouthfuls, and cheating whenever I couldn’t get caught.
While my brothers were making mazes out of the straw bales in the hayloft, I was in being “special” making homemade pineapple ice cream and creating elaborate tea-parties-for-two complete with dessert mints and nut cups.
While my brothers were downstairs stacking all available couch cushions, sleeping bags and pillows one on top of each other and then competing to see who could high-jump over them without drawing blood, I was upstairs being “special” eating sliced apples and popcorn with freshly painted fingernails watching The Sound of Music.
It was a lot of work being “special”. And great fun, too!
And for the one who was “special” this death is not only the celebration of a long life well lived, but it is a deep, deep loss.
My Grandmother loved me unconditionally. And that love has had a profound impact on my life. Perhaps, I would not be confident if she didn’t tell me how proud she was of me. Perhaps, I wouldn’t be funny, if she didn’t throw her head back and cover her mouth in mock shock at my silly antics. Perhaps, I wouldn’t know that I’m pretty if she hadn’t told me so. Perhaps, I would be shy….okay, I couldn’t be shy under any circumstance…. :)
But you see, being special to someone and loved unconditionally changes a person’s life. In the days since her death, I’ve bemoaned the fact that there were times I disrespected her: talked back to her, thought she wasn’t cool, shrugged away from her arm around my shoulder, or took my hand back.
Why would I treat unconditional love that way?! My husband, Mark, said, “That’s how you knew it was unconditional. It was love that was tested and proved true.”
I thank God that I still have two other women in my life who love me unconditionally, and a couple men, too. :) And it will be one of my life’s goals to reinvest what was invested in me:
To love others with the unconditional love of God and make people know they are “special.”