Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Monday, December 30, 2013


Words are usually my thing. In person I may have bouts of incoherency, but given time and a keyboard I can string along a sentence or two that adequately communicates the mess in my head. (But only if you include the word "totally". If "totally" was struck from my vocabulary I would be effectively rendered mute.) It is unsettling to stare at a blank screen for so many hours and discover language has failed me.

My Grandfather died on Saturday.

When I was little, The Grandfather took on mythical proportions. I was sure he was a rich business man who intimidated and ruled the whole world. He only furthered this perception by signing all my birthday cards "GRANDfather", because he was decidedly grand. He lived in a "fancy" house and owned a grand piano - two irrefutable symbols of success to an eight year old. He had a sun porch where I watched The Golden Girls and he drove a car that spoke. In 1990. (#baller) ("A door is ajar," to which he would reply, "Kelly! This car is crazy. A door is not a jar; a door is a door!")

When I was a bit older and he retired for the first time, my grandparents moved south and formally introduced me to one of my favorite places on this planet - The Great Smoky Mountains. My Grandfather would drive through the mountains to show off beautiful mountain properties on our way to Gatlinburg, where we would ride the sky tram, buy a personalized airbrush t-shirt, and explore the haunted house, all before piling back into the car to find the first appropriate stop-off on the mountain drive home. He would pull over and I would climb down the embankment and swim in the river with my clothes on. It was freezing, and more importantly felt forbidden and exciting and is one of my favorite memories of my youth.

This pic is saved on my computer under the title
"Tampon Boat with Grandpa".
Also, 1989 was a great year in swimwear.
In Tennessee* my grandparents also bought a boat, which my sister dubbed a "tampon" boat (because vocabulary is hard and sometimes "pontoon" and "tampon" get confused)(holy cow would that be an awkward mistake the other way) and we would take day boating trips on Tellico Lake to Fort Loudoun or to eat dinner buy hand-dipped milkshakes at Calhoun's. He put me at the helm, teaching bow from stern, starboard from port, and how to steer into the waves at the correct angle to avoid pitching or yawing (knowledge I still employ today when I am training in the water and using the kickboard for drills).

You guessed it. "Tampon Boat with
Grandpa 2".
(*Story for free* - Tennessee is also where my seven year old brother announced in a Subway restaurant he was going to live in a condom when he got older. At thirteen years old I was both mortified and tickled such a scandalous thing was said aloud. My mother quickly deduced he meant "condo" - which honestly has much better amenities and is a tad roomier - and set his terminology to right.)

My youth is comprised of memories of my Irish grandfather singing freestyle with a drink in his hand.

"Kelly Sue
 Don't be blue
 Grandpa loves you"

(I come by my lyrical skills honestly.)(He was also a faithful Catholic and to this day my children sometimes pray singing in made-up Latin using their best Gregorian-style Chant - just like Pappy.) 

Above all, I remember my Grandfather loved me. He was interested in my life. He talked with me about God and eternity. He wanted good things for my future. And, most importantly, he made sure I knew all this. What a gift.

Thank you for leaving me with that memory, Grandfather.


Goodbye, Grandfather.


  1. Oh Kelly, I am so sorry about your grandpa! I lost mine 10 years ago on New Year's Eve. I wasn't there when he passed, and for the longest time I felt guilty. Until he came in my dream one night and said : "You looked beautiful on your wedding day!". Hugs to you!

    1. What a great dream! Thanks for the kind words, Iva.

  2. Oh, Kelly, I'm so, very sorry about your loss. Sending you all the warmth I possess and wishing you and your family peace and comfort in your memories and each other.

  3. I'm so sorry about your loss. Hugs to you and your family!

  4. What a beautiful tribute to what sounds like a wonderful man. So sorry for your loss.

  5. What a wonderful post about your grandfather. It is obvious you loved him very much! I'm so sorry for your loss.

    1. Thanks, Angela! Good to "see" you back :)

  6. I'm so sorry to hear about your Grandpa. Losing the ones we love is never easy, but the Grandparents we were close to really seem the hardest under parents. I lost my Pa as a teen and then my Granny just a couple of years ago. I still hurt over my Grandpa because it was so sudden. My Granny I am at peace with -- she was 99 and lived her whole life healthy and happy. But I still miss her and probably always will. But like you, I looked up to my Pa in a different way. And it's a hard loss. I miss them both terribly. I pray for peace and comfort to your family, and once again, I am sorry for your loss.


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