Just call me Umma

I have just a few memories of my grandparents when I was a child.We moved around a lot and didn’t see them very often. Both my Grandfathers died when I was very young. My one memory of my  Papa Olson is the deep pockets of his great big coat. He would come in the door and say to me and my little sister in his thick Swedish accent, “reach in there. See what you can find.” There was always some delicious piece of candy or bits of change in there for us.

I remember my  Grandma Courchene being quite cranky. Not a nice woman at all. I dreaded it whenever she would babysit my little sister and me. She always had a wooden spoon at the ready and we were going to “get the spoon” if we misbehaved. We never ‘got the spoon’ but it was always there, on the counter. She scared me.

I loved it though, when my Nanny Olson would visit. My Swedish Nanny was a soft, kind woman. I loved watching her do her hair in the morning. I would sit on the edge of the tub and watch as she brushed her long black wavy hair, it went all the way down her back. She would then braid it and coil it on the top of her head. I remember her always taking photos of us with her little Brownie camera. She lived long enough to choose the name of my first-born daughter.


I have three grand daughters of my own now. I am so lucky to have them living right next door to me. I get to be a very hands on Umma.  The front door opens and I hear a little voice say. “I just want to have a little visit.”It gets me every time. I can read to them, bake with them, play outside with them, every single day. Being a young Umma helps .(53’s young right?) I have the energy to keep up with them most days.


Tadda is the puzzle guy. Whenever  3-year-old Aubrey comes over she gets a puzzle, Tadda’s glasses and brings them to him at the table.

Those girls make me laugh and break my heart everyday.

I cherish the few memories I have of my Grandparents, yes, even Grandma Courchene. They are an important part of who I am. And now I am enjoying every minute of creating those memories for my grandchildren.

They say that Grandparents who spend a lot of time with their grandchildren live longer. I’m aiming for 100.




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