I was raised by my Grandma as a kid.
(P.S. that’s Portuguese for grandma.)
And my Avó carries, without a doubt, the most precious place in my heart.
She can buy me the most hideous thing in the world, and not only will I not ever consider returning it…but I’ll actually use it.
Because Avó got it for me.
And just looking at whatever crazy doily/glittery/silk flowered thing it is…makes me sigh with happiness.
Because Avó got it for me.
I can’t even *think* about what life will be like when she dies.
I’m fully tearing up right now just thinking about it.
I need to stop thinking about it.
Because even at 30 years old, I can crawl up into her bed and we can giggle and talk…just like we did when I was 5.
And it’s not weird at all that I’m a grown woman.
One of the sweetest feelings ever is me in my spot on her bed…with my three kids…her three great-grandchildren…also on the bed.
All five of us hanging out and laughing.
Chatting about being a mom. Laughing at Lucy. Cooing at Jill. Answering questions for Henry.
I can’t describe how happy it makes me that my kids can have a piece of Avó too.
I just love her. If you can’t tell.
Last March my grandpa died.
Avó’s one and only.
They had dated since she was THIRTEEN!
Dating defined as “he would come over and stand on the other side of the fence and we would talk. And sometimes his hand would touch mine, and it was like electricity in my body.”
Dying with the cuteness, right?
Electrical touches, 4 kids, 5 grandkids, and 3 great-grandchildren (and counting) later.
49 years of marriage.
When he died, I know he took with him a piece of her heart.
A heart so big, it must hardly fit inside her chest.
And while she has certainly taken it all in stride, I know she still aches inside.
Because if there is anything I inherited from Avó, it is feeling things…feeling so deeply it hurts.
And I cannot imagine her pain.
So this Christmas I wanted to do something special. Because anything found at Walmart didn’t seem right.
I enlisted the help of my mom…telling Avó that they were collecting men’s shirts for Veteran’s Day to give to homeless vets, and maybe she could donate some of grandpa’s old shirts?
Except the shirts came to my house instead.
Dusted off my machine. Literally.
And I cut them up.
And sewed them back together.
Cutting a piece of fabric has never been so terrifying.
Because if I cut wrong, I couldn’t exactly run back out to Joann’s for more.
I have never been so careful in my cutting, measuring and sewing.
I pinned like I had never pinned before.
I took seams out and re-did them. Until it was just right.
I arranged patterns, re-arranged and lined up.
And when I was done, I cried.
Because I forgot how much I missed him too.
I purposely cut sections that had stains on them. Because those stains meant a full life. A life that wasn’t perfect or filled with riches. But a life lived.
And something tells me that Avó probably knows exactly how each of those stains got there.
I included the strip of buttons…buttons that had been threaded into their little matching hole countless times.
Because a side note about my grandpa is that he was famously…frugal. Those shirts were older than me.
In fact, when my sister put together a slideshow for his funeral, we all burst into teary laughter because there he was in his purple shirt holding one of HIS kids as babies…
…and in that same purple shirt holding one of MY kids…40+ years later.
Some of the shirts were worn so thin my thread pulled right through. And I had to re-sew it about five times, further and further back until it held.
But it was worth every minute. Every rise in blood pressure. Every drop of nervous sweat.
And I hope it blesses her.
I hope she knows how much I love her.
I seriously don’t tell her often enough. I need to get on that.
Do you have anyone in your life who holds such a sweet spot in your soul?