1978- My sister, Jennifer, at Grandma and Grandpa’s house…THE place to be!

My three sisters and I always thought of Grandma and Grandpa’s house as our second home.  Even at a very young age, I remember feeling a sense of warmth and complete contentment every time I walked through their door.  I was able to be MYSELF…a feeling that is often only given to young ones in their OWN homes.  I remember greetings from Grandma and Grandpa that directly signified that they were genuinely happy to see me.

And, of course, I was ALWAYS offered something to eat!  Grandma and Grandpa’s cupboards were stocked with food that was not often seen in my own home.  Maybe my parents were aware of the fact that 1 out of 4 of their daughters was a sugar-fiend!  From Oreos to Cheetos…Twinkies to Ding-Dongs… Captain Crunch to Toucan Sam….it was 1980’s snacks in all of its sugary glory!  🙂

I was able to talk with my grandparents about anything.  If school was frustrating, Grandpa Bob had the ability to help me focus.  If my sisters proved equally as frustrating, Grandma Lita was able to help me understand the importance of compromise, while at the same time learn to appreciate the fact that my sisters and I are each unique individuals.

There was one spring break back in the late 1980s when my sisters and I had the awesome fortune of spending the entire week at my grandparents’ house.  Over 20 years later, I can still remember my sisters and I driving home with our parents after a week of bliss with heavy hearts and tears streaming down our faces.   Looking back, I wonder why we reacted to our departure from our grandparents’ house so dramatically?  Did we NOT know that Grandma and Grandpa only lived 20 minutes away from us?  😉

As I grew older, the topics of conversation in my second home shifted slightly.  Before I knew it, I was talking to my grandparents about college…and later planning a wedding.  But all the while it was all done with my shoes off, comfort food in hand, and an ear that was willing to listen as long as he or she needed to.

As I am writing this, my Grandma is spending the first week of her approximately 9-month stay in the Philippines.  It is a trip that has been a long time coming and one that Grandpa Bob hoped Grandma Lita would take as soon as she possibly could.  It is a trip that is definitely needed, for as the United States has been HER second home for over 40 years, it was time for Grandma to make the trip back to where she grew up.  And like the tearful ride home the Mitchell sisters endured over 20 years ago, many tears were definitely shed as Grandma embarked on her ride back to the Philippines…only her ride had wings and was about 18 hours longer.  The tears, however, were coupled with a feeling of contentment because we knew Grandpa Bob’s wish for Grandma was finally coming true.

All transitions are tough, but, as Grandpa Bob would have said, it is part of growing up.  It will be tough to be away from Grandma Lita for 9 months, but as a grown-up I am learning that time flies…FAST!  So, I have a feeling that February, 2013 will be here before I know it!  🙂

Last weekend: Grandma Lita and me before her flight to the Philippines
No, she is not my mom….she really IS my Grandma! 😉

What memories do YOU have from your visits to your grandma and grandpa that always put a smile on your face?

And, to all who have had the opportunity to know Grandma Lita and Grandpa Bob, do you have memories from your visits to their house that you would like to share?  I would love to hear from you!  🙂