Monday, July 18, 2011

Not Your Typical Grandmother

July 16, 2011, marked the seventh anniversary of the passing of my grandmother, Lucille Kosharek. In some ways I can't believe that so many years have gone by. She died when my seven-year-old daughter, Emma, was only about five weeks old. In other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago that she was actually with us.

My Grandma was born in 1918 and was one of the toughest ladies I've ever known. She played in a women's baseball league like the ones depicted in the movie "A League of Their Own." She had four children and eight grandchildren and she loved them all fiercely.

She lived with my family from the time I was about seven years old and she was like a parent to me. On one hand, that meant she didn't spoil my brother and I like most grandparents have a way of doing. Although come to think of it she really didn't spoil the grandchildren that didn't live with her, either. But on the other hand, living together made us very close.

You never really wondered what Grandma thought about something or how she felt about it. She didn't leave much to the imagination - she told you what was on her mind. Some people were afraid of her or didn't like her. But she didn't tolerate nonsense - she saw right through it. And she didn't miss a thing. She was a hard-working woman and the kind of person who would stay with a neighbor who was recovering from surgery. But she also had a teasing side, a sense of humor, and loved to laugh.

Although she had a very abrasive manner, her motivation was love. And she could surprise you. I remember being about ten years old or so when she would walk us to the bus stop for school. There was one day when I was finally going back to school after missing a few days from being sick. I was feeling better, but dreading going back to school. I just felt like I couldn't face it yet, with all its social challenges. However, I knew Grandma wouldn't understand that. So I dutifully got on the bus, but then I couldn't do it. I couldn't sit down. I turned around, walked off the bus, and ran to Grandma, fully expecting to be yelled at and told to get right back on that bus. Instead she held me and let me cry for the entire walk back home. I guess she recognized that it wasn't nonsense.

For better or worse, she had a part in shaping me and influencing my life. As with any relationship, it wasn't perfect. And it certainly wasn't the typical grandparent-grandchild relationship. But I knew she always had my best interests at heart, whether or not her methods were the best. Unconditionally, I loved her and I miss her. And if she could have read this post, she probably would have complained that I wrote something about her, but laughed heartily with a bit of embarrassment flushing her cheeks. She was definitely one of a kind.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Croc Envy

I have two pairs of Crocs and they are not the same size. The reason they are different sizes is not nearly as amusing of a story as the explanation of their current roles in my wardrobe or even my family's awareness of this. But I shall share the reason anyway, as over-explaining things is how I roll.

You know the phenomenon of women's feet growing while they're pregnant? Well I'm here to tell you it really does happen. After my first two pregnancies were over, though, my feet magically shrank back to their original size. But not the third one. My feet did not go back to the size eight they had been for probably 20 years. They are now . . . eight and one-half.

As you may know, Crocs does not believe in half-sizes. They just refuse to admit that people may exist that have feet which are incapable of squeezing into an eight while at the same time swimming in a nine. They have a right to their beliefs. I in turn have a right to not buy their shoes, however I was overpowered by my need for ugly but comfortable footwear.

I decided that too big would be a better idea than too small, so for my first pair of Crocs, I purchased a size nine in a lovely brown color. It eventually became overwhelmingly clear that bigger is not always better, and here is where I will illustrate my point.

I was wearing my size nine Crocs while driving one day and I was backing into a parking spot. An essential detail about this parking spot is that it was situated right in front of a small tree. When you are wearing size nine Crocs on your size eight-and-one-half feet, you would be surprised how the extra bit of shoe past your toes can catch the bottom of the accelerator without you knowing it. Yep, up the curb and into the tree we went. Minimal damage to the vehicle (and the tree), thankfully, although I definitely scared the you-know-what out of the kids.

So I now also have a pair of size eight Crocs in an exquisite black color. Instead of getting rid of the size nines, I just don't wear them for driving. Which brings me to the other humorous facet to this tale.
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The other day before we left the house, I absentmindedly put on my size-nine-and-not-safe-for-driving Crocs, but I was not about to get away with that little error. A certain three-year-old who shall remain nameless said, "Um, Mommy? Are those your driving Crocs?" So I was able to change into the other ones and avert disaster. Ironically, she is also the child who didn't give back my size eight feet once she was born.

So I guess the moral of this story is that having children is really mutually beneficial. You take care of them until they're 18, and they will make your feet grow and then remind you to wear the proper shoes while operating motor vehicles - you know, in case you forget.