Editor’s note: Elaine Wheat’s granddaughter, Marilyn Elaine Wheat, wrote a column this week.
“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” – Psalm 91:11-12
Today, my husband drove our family to the sea. Let me backup. Some of my first memories are of my late granny in heaven, Elaine Wheat, taking my sister, Dyanne, and me to the beach. My name is Marilyn Elaine Wheat, Elaine Wheat’s proud granddaughter.
In the morning, we would don our tie-dyed shirts, load up the old blue van and prepare to head out. We would help her make pimento cheese sandwiches, careful to pack them away so sand would not infiltrate our delicious lunch. Then off we went eager and excited, and maybe, a little impatient.
As soon as we got there, we would pour out of the van and retrieve our fishing nets from the back. Off we went, but carefully. Yes, we had a blast.
But there were always “Granny’s rules”:
- Always wear your “rock runners” (water shoes).
- Shuffle your feet along the bottom, so you don’t step on any ocean life or other items that could harm you.
- Don’t leave her sight.
- Don’t shout or scream “help” if you don’t mean it.
- The list went on and on.
Alas, we would lay on the pier and scoop up crabs and minnows and comb the beach for hermit crabs, coral and pretty shells. In spite of all these rules, and perhaps a bit because of them, we had a wonderful time and made many cherished memories.
Today, as we gathered our things to head to Galveston for my birthday weekend, I held up our “rock runners” and asked my new husband where I should put them. He looked at me confused. I told them we needed them to go in the ocean. He replied, “No. I’ll be barefoot.” My response was, “But you can’t.” Still confused, he asked why. First thing out of my mouth was “Granny’s rules!”
Needless to say, the “rock runners” came. We had a beautiful time, and no one got hurt.
I spent some time by myself on the shore while my husband and our two young boys played in the surf, contemplating and fighting the bittersweet tears in my eyes. I thought about the memories, the lessons, and all the times I got a “kiss on head” from my granny, who is now watching down from heaven. All the looks of pride she gave to her great-grands, my two boys, as they grew more brave with her encouragement and learned to swim. The joy she took in calling me her daughter after I lost my mom, and she became my primary parental figure.
She loved so fiercely, laughed so freely and, yes, got annoyed at the occasional selfie. While reluctantly participating, she would still muster her best smile. And I am so, so thankful for all the pictures and videos that have been captured throughout the years. But they can never fully express how wonderful my granny was. Her legacy definitely lives on.
And while I watched the waves crashing to the shore this afternoon, I got it. I understood how powerful God is, and how good He is to us to have allowed our granny to have spent as much time as we did with her. To have been blessed as her granddaughter, but also the pure adoration she had for my boys. It made an impression on them as well. We know you will be with us always.
Dear Lord, please continue to remind us that sometimes don’t need to be in charge of everything. We can’t fix everything, and it’s OK to be weak. That’s why we have You, and why You called our guardian angel Granny home. We can count on you in times of uncertainty and know You will always be there. We are blessed with the life You give us, amen.