My grandparents are up from Cedar City for the weekend, and not just for a visit. Both in their early nineties, they have to this point aged very well. They have lived in the house they built together as newlyweds for over sixty years. Grandpa has maintained a beautiful yard and garden, and my grandma has kept her house impeccably neat and tidy. They've traveled, and participated in the community. They have seen weddings and missions and birthdays and holidays of grandchildren and now great-grandchildren. And I am so fortunate to have them still in my life, to have them know my daughters, and to see that beautiful link between generations.
But things don't always stay the same. That's the beauty and the heartache of life. Grandpa had a knee replaced last spring, and just came out of a hip replacement a few weeks ago. And now it's Grandma's turn. She's the one who needs a new hip. So they've come up here to Salt Lake where there is family to support and take care of them. I'm so glad they're here, for so many reasons.
Last night I was out picking up groceries for my family when my lil' bro called and asked me to pick up a walker for Grandma to use, as she was having a hard time getting around the house. No big deal, I thought. I just ran to the nearby Walmart, chose my favorite model of walker and picked it up to carry it to the checkstand. And then I started to cry. The reality of my grandparents' age and mortality hit me like a ton of bricks. Because I tend to be a worrier, my mind started racing ahead to the days of Grandma's upcoming surgery, her recovery, and my eventual life without my grandmother, and my grandfather. I will miss them so much. And though I know I'm fortunate to have had them as part of my life for so long, it does not make it any easier to digest the fact that someday they will not be with me anymore.
My parents are currently out of town, so my siblings and I are taking care of the gparents. And I am doing what I do best: cooking and baking. Tonight we will have a family dinner together. We will have curried chicken with rice, garlic cornbread muffins, and chocolate cake (cake recipe courtesy of Meili's grandma Venna). We will eat together tonight, and laugh, and make messes and memories. And chow down and enjoy our time together.
Life will march on whether you are ready for it or not. People come and go from your life whether you are ready for them to go or not. So make the most of your time with them because it is limited. The key is not to focus on the future without them, but to savor the present with them. So take a few minutes and eat some chocolate cake with the people you love.
Grandma Venna's Chocolate Cake
1 C Water
1/4 C cocoa
2 C sugar
1/2 t soda
2 cubes margarine
2 C flour
1/2 C buttermilk
1/2 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
In sauce pan, heat the water, margarine, cocoa together. Stir, mix well. Combine flour, sugar, salt, soda in a separate bowl. In another, whip eggs with fork, add buttermilk and vanilla. Combine all. Pour in a 9x13 dish and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream.
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