|Yammy and Phia at Cheshire Farm 2012|
My kids' name for my Mom is 'Yammy.' She has 23 grandchildren (and counting), most of whom call her Yammy. When my niece and nephew (the first two grandkids) were small, I made up this name for her as a an unconventional and more exciting name than 'Grandma' or 'Gram' Don't get me wrong, the traditional 'Grandma' is fine, but it's always fun to have a different, more unique name to call a grandparent. Yammy seemed to fit my Mom and her personality quite nicely.
In many ways, Yammy does fit the conventional ideal of a grandma. She is little, round and often has baked goodies (whether freshly-made brownies or packaged cookies from the store) at her house for the grandkids to eat. But there's so much more to her than that. She gives freely almost anything in her home, be it those delicious sweets, clothing, or random knick-knacks. While in her home, she practically forces food on you (though you don't have to tell my kids twice to eat!), and though things can sometimes be chaotic, she welcomes everyone in. You always know that her house is your house and that you're always welcome there, even if it's overwhelming for her at times. I know it's very difficult for her to be around a lot of noise, and with seven children all having babies year after year, it's almost impossible to escape it. But, she charges on like a trooper, all for the love of her grandbabies.
Mom often expresses a sadness that she can't see our children as much as she would like. She sees my siblings' kids way more often because they live closer and she doesn't have to worry about driving far, which is difficult for her. She has a hard time seeing in the dark so if she does visit, it's earlier in the day. But my kids don't ever question if she loves them. They just know. She comes with a smile and hugs and a small amount of discipline...and an occasional treat. She makes sure to tell them she loves them. She visits randomly, never needing a specific reason.
As I write this, she has just left my house not too long ago with a dear friend of ours, Sherry, after a few hours' visit. The two of them, both grandmas, drove up here together to help me with my daughter's First Communion dress, and check out my chickens and share some coffee and croissants and apples. My kids were so excited when I told them she was coming along with our friend, and when they left, they were sad to see them go.
One day (hopefully not til the very distant future) Yammy will not be around anymore. I pray that my kids will always remember the visits with her, especially when she has us at her house, the random bins of toys she keeps for them, the generosity of treats and food and love. I pray that they'll look back fondly on the memory of their Yammy much like I do on my memories of my Grandma Anne, and remember her sweet smile and funny personality.