Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Musical Grandmothers

Mimi and Mama Dot.

My dad's mom and my mom's mom. They are pretty much polar opposites.

We call Mimi the whirlwind and Mama Dot the slow poke. Mimi is very loud and kinda rough around the edges. Mama Dot would have probably felt right at home having tea with the Queen. Mimi is known for waking us up by slamming kitchen cupboards, banging pots and pans, and serving up a nice, hot breakfast. Mama Dot usually slept in and let Daddy Bob make the breakfast (more like brunch). She would always tell me to go "freshen up" and tie my hair back before we sat down to eat. She had these hilarious, lovely slippers with a bit of a heel and puffy fur on the top of them. So fancy. It still makes me laugh to think of wearing any kind of heel when you are in your pyjamas. I think Mimi had some more practical slippers. I remember her white running shoes more vividly so I think she wore those more often. Makes sense.. she hit the ground running every day.

They both gave me the gift of music.

Mimi with "My Bonnie lies over the Ocean", "In the Good ole Summertime", and "Just a closer walk with Thee." To name a few. Oh and let's not forget her scary lullabies that we're not sure why she sang to us. "One night I went walking in the cemetery.. skin and bones." Hmm.. such happy thoughts to accompany you into dreamland.

Mama Dot with "Somewhere over the Rainbow", "Too-ra-loora-loora" and the last song I ever heard her sing before she left this world.. "Lord, make us instruments of your peace..". I still remember how her operatic voice rang out on the words "where there is sadness, joy!" I'm glad my brother and I were both there that day to receive her blessing.

Mimi sings everywhere and whistles too. In the kitchen, at the piano, on the porch swing, in the garden, entertaining others at the old folks' home, family gatherings.. you name it, music is present. I really hope that I will get to sing with her at least one more time before she passes on. The last time we sat at her piano together was so magical. I love her rendition of "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..", and she was probably the one who taught me harmony. I always hear her alto part on "Amazing Grace".

Mama Dot sang in the church choir, at bedtimes, and maybe not quite as often as Mimi. Her voice and style matched her hair and makeup. Perfection. Although.. there was this one bedtime routine we had that allowed me to see her silly, spontaneous side. I feel pretty special about that.  She would carry me down the hallway, dancing and singing "a doot, a doot, a dootily-dootily doot..". Then she would tuck me in and kiss the "sugar spot" at the back of my neck.

Last week in Kindermusik, I watched two grandmothers have a blast with their granddaughters. They were willing to roll around on the ground with them as pigs in the mud, sing aloud even though at times quite off key, and joyfully and sweetly encourage the little girls to try new things and express themselves. They made me think of my grandmothers. It was beautiful to behold.

My grandmothers obviously played a big part in making music an everyday household item for me, and for that I am so thankful. I imagine I will get to be a playful, musical grandmother one day. I know I have definitely been that kind of mother. The kids and I have made up all kinds of songs on a range of subjects: potty training, socks, our pets (for example, a beautiful ukulele song Talia wrote for our dog), and Eva and I recently wrote a catchy one about a chicken on a farm. I am sure Mimi and Mama Dot would be happy to know that their legacy lives on.

"Blessed are those who spoil and snuggle, hug and hope, pray and pamper, boast and brag, for they shall be called grandmothers."
-Author Unknown


  1. You are truly giving honour to those who went before you... What an amazing gift you were blessed with. Thank you for sharing!

  2. May He give you songs in the night!!!