One of my husband's favorite Easter treats is deviled eggs. Since I loathe anything related to eggs, I decided to leave the egg making to his mother. Every Easter that we spend with his family, I would bring up the hard boiled eggs and let her do the dirty work.
My grandmother also loved deviled eggs. By the time she met my husband, she had suffered a stroke and lived in an assisted living facility. She had a small kitchen, but it was primarily for show, as she took all of her meals in the dining room. I think we once boiled water for tea, but that was about it.
For emotional reasons, my father had not sold his mother's house when she reluctantly moved to Glennwood. He had promised that if she didn't like it, she could move home. About a year after she moved into the assisted living facility, she agreed it was time to sell the house. Despite her misgivings, she loved living in what she called "God's waiting room." There was always something to do, a hairdresser, nail salon, and church on the property. There were weekly outings to the coast or outlet mall, nightly games of cards or bingo, that became surprisingly lively. She had a group of friends that she called her "girls" and even a man that hobbled down the hall on his cane to escort her to dinner every night.
My family took her back to her house to start sorting things. A few years back, she had already labeled the bigger things, furniture, dishes, her doll collection, with post-it notes so that they would go to the right family members. But there were still years of memories in the form of various collectibles that were on shelves, in closets, or in the garage. I came home one weekend to help with the sorting. My sister, my aunts, my mother, my cousins, and my grandmother all sorted through her memories. She kept a few things that she couldn't bear to part with and the rest were distributed among her relatives or donated to charity. Some of the things that she elected to save were somewhat confusing. She had no problem tossing her entire thimble collection, but she had to have this one deviled egg plate.
It is a beautiful plate, clear glass with elaborately scalloped edges. . . but a deviled egg plate? Still, she had to have it.
A few years passed and my grandmother's health deteriorated. She had another stroke and this time developed pneumonia while she was recovering. She survived but was now unable to walk or move her left arm. She was wheelchair bound. Embarrassed by her condition, she did not want to return to her "Girls" and dinner escort at Glennwood. Also, she was really too sick to be cared for at the assisted living facility. It was time to move her into an adult care (foster) home, where she could be taken care of as needed.
Now, instead of a small, one bedroom apartment, she was moving to one room bedroom in a lovely home. She had to pare down to the essentials. It was time to get rid of all but a few things. Once again, I made the trek home to help with the packing and moving. We all knew that this would be Grandma's last move, so it was an emotional time.
She had already given most of her belongings away, but what remained were some of her most precious things. My aunts were given their mother's bridal jewelry. My mother got a beautiful necklace. My sister and I also got beautiful pieces of jewelry. But my grandmother had one more thing that she wanted to give me. She loved my husband and highly approved of our marriage. Since his name is the same as my grandfather's, she always seemed to have a bond to him. By this point, she was starting to get confused, but she remembered that "her" Mike and "my" Mike loved deviled eggs. She wanted me to have the egg plate.
I have to admit, with my strong aversion to eggs, this was not something that I really appreciated at the time. I thanked her, took it, and it got shuffled to the back of my dish cupboard.
It has been over three years now since my grandmother passed away. I miss her so much and wish that she was here to share in the excitement of my pregnancy. She loves new babies and was on us from the moment the ink on our marriage license was dry to start a family.
This year, my mother-in-law is up to her eyeballs in work to do. She let me know that she would not be making deviled eggs this year. Since these are my husband's favorites, I decided to try my hand at it. This was a true labor of love, since the smell of the egg yolks as I mashed them had my pregnant sniffer working overtime.
But as I carefully put the eggs in the beautiful egg plate, I could swear that I felt my Grandmother in the kitchen with me. I imagined the Easters that she had made the eggs for my grandfather. I remembered the day we sorted through her things and she lovingly caressed the plate before decisively placing it in her "keep" pile. I felt her love, not only for me and my husband, but for our unborn child. I felt her reassurance that she rocks our angel babies in heaven.
It's only a plate, but it held so much more than eggs today. It held the memories of my grandmother and all that I will pass on to my children.
Happy Easter, Grandma. And Happy Easter to you, dearest friends.