Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grandmother of My Heart

For me to explain how I feel about Georgie Hardin, I have to give a little of my background. Due to just simply how things turned out in my life, I did not have much of a relationship with any of my own grandparents. Memories of visiting a grandparent's house regularly are not something I own. Many have warm memories of spending great times with their grandparents. Perhaps there are those who have benefited from sage advice given lovingly by grandparents. Although these are things I see my children experiencing, I was not one of those to do so. There were several factors that hindered my bonding with biological grandparents which in turn led me to fully appreciate my relationship with Georgie Hardin.
To begin with, I was the youngest grandchild on both my maternal and paternal sides of the family, so my grandparents were elderly when I was born. Understandably, this factor allowed limited time with them. Other factors that inhibited bonding were the death of my maternal grandmother, stolen from us by what we would now call Alzheimer's, at an early age in my life. Another factor in the obstacle of bonding was our move overseas for a good number of my young years, due to my father's service in the military. Enjoying the benefits of email and Skype were not an option back then,  unfortunately. We did eventually move back to the States, however, by the time I was twenty years old, all of my grandparents had gone home to be with the Lord.
Coming from these experiences, it was no wonder I was thoroughly amazed when I started dating Jeff and learned he still had grandparents living. He spoke fondly of all of his grandparents. One set of grandparents he told me about lived in Mesquite, Texas. Jerry and Georgie Hardin. Thankfully, I was privileged to meet them and definitely they were a pair you could not help liking. From that moment forward, Georgie, whom we affectionately call Gig, would be the grandmother of which I would have those warm memories.
Gig welcomed me to the family as a done deal when she first met me. I did not have to jump through any hoops to get her approval. It was just freely given. She was open and loving. I soon found I loved to attempt to get her to laugh just to hear the her laughter. Gig, in turn, never failed to make me laugh, albeit I think most times she was not even trying. 
There was no concern that my children or I would have bonding troubles with Gig. It was a blessing to see how much she enjoyed her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  When we would call, or pull up in her driveway, she was enthusiastic in her sincere greetings. Gig made it quite clear she loved seeing us. I enjoyed getting to sit with her and just talking. I liked hearing her talk about when she was younger or about Jerry, or stunts my husband pulled.
Although we have numerous great memories of Gig, I would like to share a couple that are dear to me. One such memory was when our daughter was born prematurely by emergency Caesarean and we were not given much hope for her survival. As Damaris lay in the the NICU, struggling to live, Jeriann and Gig headed down to see her. The NICU had a policy that only immediate family and grandparents could enter the NICU for visits. One of the nurses wanted to adhere to this policy and was not going to allow Gig admittance, since she was a great-grandparent and not a grandparent or immediate family member. Damaris's doctor found out and did away with that policy in regards to Gig. The doctor explained the rule was made without consideration to those families who were "blessed to have great-grandparents". Most likely, Damaris was the only baby in the NICU who had a great-grandparent, but I know undoubtedly she was the only baby who had a Georgie Hardin. A one-of-the-kind great-grandmother. A Gig.
Another memory of Gig being a dedicated grandmother to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren involves the adoption of our son, Benjamin, by my husband. These adoption proceedings were  put on hold several times due to Jeff's deployments overseas. One day, Gig was on the phone with me and she asked about where we were on getting that adoption done. After I had explained the reason for the delay, she instructed me to inform that lawyer he was going to have "one mad great-grandmother on his hands" if that adoption did not take place in the near future. A cherished photograph of ours is of the day the adoption took place. All family and friends present were posing with the judge who had presided over the proceedings. In this picture, Gig is standing behind Benjamin and has her arms wrapped all around him. She was happy because he was legally her great-grandson. The courts had finally recognized what her heart had known all along.
I have often teased that I married Jeff just to have Gig as my grandmother. Though I truly did marry Jeff for his own attributes, Gig was definitely a bonus blessing! The frosting on the cake. In my mind, I know Gig was my husband's grandmother; but in my heart, she was mine.


  1. I enjoyed reading about these wonderful examples of unconditional, genuine love. What a blessing your grandmother, Georgie, has been to everyone she touched. However, I am sure she was not the only one blessed by your relationship. When you married Jeff she gained an amazing granddaughter as well.

    I remember meeting her a few years ago at the Rose family BBQ. She was so fun to talk with and in only a few minutes it felt like I had known both her and Jeff's mom for years. What a gift to have people like these two in your family. What a challenge to all they meet to become better people themselves.

    Love and Prayers,

  2. Sondra,
    Thank you for your comment! I had forgotten about that BBQ at the Roses' and that you met Gig and Jeriann. I'm so glad you did! You have a better understanding than most about how special of a person she truly was.
    Not many 93 year old women have such a crowd at their funeral that the overflow room has to be used. Evidence of the lives she touched, to be sure.