Hey everyone, this is Kevin. It's been three years now since Grandma died, and her and Grandpa have been on my mind a lot lately as I get ready for life after college. I suppose as I try to decide where to call "home" in a few months, I feel a longing for the place that will always be home for me. I wrote this for Grandma.

i was eating dinner tonight at Wendy's, and there was an older lady working the register. She was enthusiastically talking politics with the customer in front of me, letting him know that she thought this politician or the other was "insightful" and "articulate" and that it would be worth the customer's time to look him up. "Oh, but I'm not a Democrat or a Republican," she told him, "not gonna label me! Here's your fries." She made me think about my Grandma.

Grandma was a fiery liberal, carrying a burning ember for the half-century old cause of FDR and the New Deal. At any point in her life, she would certainly have voted for an inanimate block of granite (no Al Gore jokes, please) if said block was running on the Democratic ticket. Living with her for five months in late 2002, I was constantly reading The Nation or The New Republic, or sitting in on her marathon C-SPAN sessions. By the time I was ready to move out and transfer to the University of Iowa, I had my heart set on a political science degree. She had that way of rubbing off on me.

At the same time, though, for years I'd been pushing her further and further away. The last few years of her life, whenever she'd get me alone, she'd start to reminisce: "Oh Kevin, remember when Dad (my Grandpa) and I would come pick you boys up from school, take you out for a sandwich at Hardee's? Every week, we'd go, every week. Oh, Kevin, those were some of the happiest days of my life. Happiest days of my life." I hated listening to this, because so often she would follow it up with "... tell me, what happened to that sweet little boy I used to love so much?" Her catholic guilt-mongering was a bit too much to handle for an overly-sensitive kid. I eventually began to just tune her out. Yeah, I was a little shit.

Of course, now I can see. That's just the way she was. Thinking back, it blows me away: she loved me more than I could possibly appreciate. But why? I'd never done anything to earn it. I was just a kid. She'd had eleven of them, and I was just one of a whole litter of grandkids. She must have known she likely wouldn't see me reach an age where I could fully appreciate how special a loving family really is. If you have a good family like I did, you tend to think, 'that's just grandma, that's just the way grandma's are, it's what they do'. They come to your school plays. They take care of you when you're sick. They feed you and clothe you and pray with you every night before bedtime. But then somewhere along the way we all grow up and realize that loving people, even family, doesn't come hand-in-hand with a title like "Dad" or "Grandma". It's hard work.

I thought about all this over my meal, and thought back to that time in my life. Thought about Grandma always buying me a new toy when we went shopping, how she took me to the bookstore every week to fuel my newfound love of reading, the way her home was always "home", no matter where I lived. And Hardee's. From Kindergarten thru 3rd grade, every Friday, come rain or snow, my 80 year old grandparents would be there waiting for me right after school. After 3rd grade, my Dad got custody of me and my brother, and Maquoketa was a little too far for them. No more Fridays. Before today, I had never thought about how that move, which was such a huge part of my childhood, affected more lives than just mine. Did she still go to Hardee's every Friday without me? Was it the same?

Grandma died shortly after Easter, 2003. It breaks my heart that she won't be there to see me graduate college; that she'll never get to meet the man that her "sweet little boy" has grown up to be. But if this little boy could, the first thing he'd do is wrap his arms around her, squeeze her tight, and say, "Grandma, those were some of the best days of my life, too."

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Comment Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers!! Hard to believe we are already at that time of the year but we all know how fast time flys by. I know time moves even faster with a busy schedule and activities. We went Monday nite to the home schoolers talent show - that is where they all showed off their musical, dancing, writing, etc. skills. It was really quite upbuilding to see all these very talented kids. Then Tuesday nite, Becky's production of Shakespears "A Midsummer Nights Dream" which was just beyond our expectations - just well directed and well played!! Tim, Sheila and family are in South Bend this weekend in Irish Dance competition. They will return tomorrow in time to come to our place where everyone will be here for Mother's Day. I am gving a talk to the Michigan Catholic Home Schoolers next month and will be doing a radio interview Monday about the talk. Beth's brother just returned to Milwaukee from a week in California visitng relatives (he wanted us to go along but we just had too much going on). He is flying here on Thursday this coming week and staying for four days. The families will get back together while he is here and will be celebrating all the May birthdays. We will be going to the Ordination of a transitional deacon who has been serving at our parish on June 3. He is going to celebrate one of his thanksgiving Holy Masses at our parish on June 18, and he wants all the pomp and ceremony - which is very exciting to me. We, along with three grandchildren (Nick, Meg and Gabry) are signedup for the pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Was hoping some of you out there would be interested but apparently not. The weather here for the past week has been cold and rainy. It is still raining as I type and the grass is in desperate need of cutting but they are predicting rain thorugh Wednesday. Everyone here is doing well aside from colds, rashes, etc. May God bless you all. Love, Fred & Beth

Sat May 13, 2006 5:42 pm MST by Fred

Comment Just had to hop on here quickly, before I run off to the store for my potatoes for the potato salad for tomorrow's Mothers Day picnic. The girls, Laura and Sarah and children, are taking me to the Chatahoochee Park, down by the river, for a picnic. So I just wanted to wish a very Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there in Lennon land. The weather here in Ga. doesnt look to promising for a picnic but it can change very quickly , so were holding out hope that it will sunny-up tomorrow. It has been unseasonally cool, in the 60s this week, so we are enjoying our cooler than normal May, and I am taking advantage of it to do much needed yard work. My compost pile is writhering with earthworms, so ready to fill in all the needed spots in the yard. Ive mowed grass 3 times already this year, and the grass seed I sowed is popping up. Life is good, and all is well, thank the Lord. Just spoke to my mom and told her I was craving some of her homemade tomato soup that noone can make as good as her. Wrote her a little poem for mothers day, which she said she hung on the refrigerator, so I guess even when you are pushing 64 your mom will still hang your work on the fridge. Thats a comforting feeling. Just recei ved a new definition of my career choice via e-mail: I am a Research Associate in the field of Child development and Human Relations, working for my Masters with 4 credits in the most demanding of the Humanities. I work for the Lord, the pay isnt much, but the Retirement Plan, is out of this world!!!!!!!!Love, B.

Sat May 13, 2006 1:33 pm MST by B. Lennon

Comment Kevin, so good to hear from you and always glad to hear whatever is going on in your life. It was very nice to hear about your memories of Mom (your greandmother) and that she did do such a great job of trying to instill in you and Brian what was best for you guys. But I always say, you never look back unless it helps you to move forward to the present as these kinds of memories can make you feel guilty or can do more harm than good. The most important reason for looking back is to help you move forward. As a result, this is the time to reflect on all the good things grandma tried to convey to you and listen to your mother who is trying to convey the same things to you now!! You can no longer hug grandma but you sure can hug your mom!!!! You need to hug her and tell her how much you love her and how much she has done in your life as in all truth, she has loved you even more than grandma. These memories should help you into maturing to the type of man who can convey that great love for your own mother and for whomever God has called you to love in the future. I hope you have already called your mom and dad and told them how much you love them and how greatful you are for all they have done for you that has made you the man that you are today. The one thing I can assure you that grandma told you is the need for the faith in the Catholic Church - it is the one true Church that has all the truths that God ever intended for the salvation of all His people. If you remain faithful to Mother Church, you will experience the fulness of peace and joy of life. Our greatest memory of you is when you took the name of St. Blaise for your Confirmation name and how excited you were of having him as your Confirmation name. The whole key to this life is to remain faithful to His Church, loving Christ and His Church, and everything else will take care of itself!!! We are delighted that you are graduating from college but our greatest joy is sharing our love of you at the Altar of our Lord, Jesus Christ, as we share in His Body and Blood. May God bless you in all that He has called you to do. Love, Fred & Beth

Sat May 6, 2006 6:10 pm MST by Fred

Comment Dear Kevin...Thank you for your tribute to Mom-your grandma! Yes, she and Grandpa loved you and Brian like her own children. And that was so good for you both. Both of them would be so proud that you are completing your school and ready to serve the world...so proud. And I am very proud of you too. As I have raised my own kids I always think the greatest way they can thank me is that they will give the same kind of love to others, especially to their own children. And I think nothing could make your grandparents happier than that you give of yourself to those you are responsible for in your life just as they gave to you. Just know that you and Brian gave Mom and Dad so much joy and purpose in their later years and they gave to you gladly. I was so glad to see their happiness in giving to you. Your words are a beautiful testimony to Mom. Thank you. Now as I wipe the tears streaming down my face, I also hope you continue to keep in touch with the rest of us via the blog. I want to know when you are graduating and what your plans are. I hope to see you at Karen's wedding at least. I will close for now, but I want you to know that Ed and I pray specifically for you and Brian and Heather-and Julie- evey night. Love, Aunt Mary Fleege.

Sun Apr 30, 2006 6:32 pm MST by Maryfive

Comment Dear Kevin, That was so beautiful, I am sitting here with my damp tissue, thinking how wonderful that you would pay such tribute to your grandma. And it is so good to see you contribute to the Blog. She really did love you and your love of learning, and I remember many a time when she bragged about her "Kevie"and one of your magnificent acomplishments. Im sure all of us mothers would love to see a tribute such as that from our children or grandchildren. I pray that you will always remember what a vital contribution she made to your childhood. I often thought, that having you and Brian so close by and so intrinsically entwined into their golden years, was just what they needed to keep them younger at heart. Thank you for sharing your sentiments, and now please keep us all informed, as to where you go and what you do after graduation. You are thought about and inquired about far more than you realize, young man. We all love you and wish you lifes blessings as you go forth . Please keep in touch.

Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:33 am MST by B.Lennon

Comment Kevin, your blog made my day! Thank you for sharing those thoughts, especially with Mother's Day upon us. ( I also enjoyed seeing someone else do the HEADLINER!) We are so lucky to have you as our very special nephew!!

Sat Apr 29, 2006 6:32 am MST by Auntie P

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