Today my Grandmother would have been 91 years young.
She passed away last year, just a few days after her 90th birthday, and only a few days before Thanksgiving.
Rita was one of a kind. Everyone loved Rita.
She and I had a special relationship, especially as I got older. But it's those memories I have of visiting and staying with her when I was young that stick out in my head.
She would take me shopping and buy me a toy…every single time she babysat for me. Rita would tell me I was "full of soup" when I would say things that probably weren't true. She would make pancakes on Sunday mornings and feed anyone who dropped by for a visit. She would sneak a $5 bill into my palm and whisper in my ear, "Don't tell your grandfather!" and then shoo me away. Little did she know ten minutes later my grandfather would stuff a $10 bill into my small hand and warn me with a wagging finger, "Now don't go telling your grandmother!"
She and my grandfather were married for 70 years (!). My grandfather would often say, "Rita can't cook, but she can make one hell of a sandwich." She would call my grandfather a "pain in the arse"…and that was often!
One thing I wish – in those last days when Rita was still listening and chatting – was that we told her that we were trying to start a family. We had met our surrogate just days before she went into hospice. But at that point, it was too late. She would have been over the moon to know that we were having a baby. I'm sad that Max will never meet her. I know she'd spoil him to pieces.
Happy Birthday, Rita. We're thinking about you today.
We can't wait to tell Baby Max how special his Great Grandma Rita was.
Wedding day, 2005
My parents' 40th anniversary party, 2010
New Year's Day, 2011 (with my other Grandmother Rose who will be 94 in February)
Mother's Day 2013