Though I had felt my daughter’s kicks on other occasions, never were they stronger, or more chilling, than at my Grammy’s funeral mass. Seated in the front row with my entire family, I was almost winded by my soon-to-be-born daughter’s presence; a reminder that as we said goodbye to the matriarch, role model and rock of my family–a new sweet life would soon be on its way.
Now that she was physically gone, how could I keep my Grammy’s memory alive for my daughter? How could I make her more than a beautiful woman in a picture frame in our living room?
While webcams have helped make long distance families closer, there is no technology that will bring our deceased loved ones into our children’s tangible life. That said, there is so much we can do to build a relationship and connection, even when a hug can never be shared.
Having been raised in a very Italian-American family, both being in the kitchen and respecting and creating traditions, are important parts of the culture. This has led me to develop a favorite, and most instinctual way to bring my Grammy into my daughter’s young life.
Celebrating my Grandma’s birthday…
Every 26 of September, I pull out her old Sunbeam mixer–the one she used at my age religiously (it still works!)–put on old school Italian music, and bake a birthday treat that I know my Grandma would have loved. While my daughter was only 3 months old when I started this last year, and was still a young toddler for year two, I like to think that this annual celebration will give us an extra special reason to pause and talk about my memories of her and share the life lessons she taught me.
From the thrown flour and sing-song, to the serious reflection, my hope is that my daughter will, in a way, have her own special memories of her great grandma, honor her legacy and look forward to her birthday every year too!
By Christy Mraz
Christy Mraz is mom to an almost one year old baby girl. She’s also the most recent addition to the Mamajamas team. SHE IS THE EYES, EARS–AND TYPING FINGERS–BEHIND OUR SOCIAL MEDIA. A SELF-PROCLAIMED FOODIE, ADDICTED TO COOKBOOKS AND Epicurean MAGAZINES, SHE’s very excited about CONTRIBUTING RECIPE IDEAS FOR BABY AND BUSY FAMILIES…. IN the MEANTIME, FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND PINTEREST and you’ll see (or rather REad) a lot of Christy.
FOR GREAT GEAR RECOMMENDATIONS FROM Christy, CHECK OUT HER MAMAJAMAS LIST.
I’ve always been a sentimental person. Gift giving, and writing tear jerky handwritten notes for those I love, are high on my list of favorite things to do. While the time to think and create has dwindled to near nothing since my daughter was born a year ago, I luckily decided on my first birthday gift to her while she was still in utero.
It’s a simple idea really: I’d write a note to her every month that highlighted what we did together, her milestones, her favorite things, along with one full bleed photo to complete the spread.
With the idea sketched, the discipline to write was there when fatigue took over. And then pulling it all together just before her birthday didn’t feel like such an all-consuming task.
Though I debated using a few different book publishers, I finally decided on Shutterfly for their easy chalkboard backgrounds and upgrade options. The lay flat pages and puffy cover really made such a difference and gave it a special occasions feel. To simplify production even more, this is a great template.
Perhaps my book will inspire you, just like Pinterest did for me. More than anything, I recommend keeping a trusty notebook by your bed. It is amazing how time blurs and you forget things so quickly. But even tired chicken scratch will help your memory as well as form the root of a gift that will keep on giving for years to come.
By Christy Mraz
Christy Mraz is mom to an almost one year old baby girl. She’s also the most recent addition to the Mamajamas team. She is the eyes, ears–and typing fingers–behind our social media. A self-proclaimed foodie, she is addicted to cookbooks and Epicurean magazines. Follow us on facebook, pinterest and twitter and you’ll see (or rather read) a lot of Christy.
FOR GREAT GEAR RECOMMENDATIONS FROM Christy, CHECK OUT HER MAMAJAMAS LIST