Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Tale of Two Elvas

Before Elisabeth was born in September of 2007, we were tossing around different names for her. Lisa had wanted to use the name Elisabeth for about as long as she wanted to use the name Alexandra. I did like the name, but at the same time I wanted her to have a middle name that would honor someone who was very important in my life, my Great-Grandmother Elva Brinkerhoff.

It wouldn’t be the first time that we used a family name. Alexandra’s middle name is Louise, which is both my Mother in Law’s and Lisa’s Grandmother’s middle name. For Lorelai we used Lisa’s Dad’s name, Lee. We did change the spelling to Leigh (Which just so happened to also be Lorelai Gilmore’s middle name in the TV show Gilmore Girls, which is where we got the name Lorelai to begin with.) so it would sound a little more feminine. When it came time to find one for Elisabeth, we thought that Elva had a good ring to it.

My Grandma Elva died when I was only 8, but I have vivid memories of her and her house on Smith Ave. in Richland. She was what a Grandma is supposed to be; sweet, kind, loving, and the ability to spoil any child rotten. My sister Heidi and I both had a very close bond with both her and my Great-Grandfather Jess. There are too many memories to list on this post, so I will just leave it at this: Nobody in the world could have loved their Great-Grandparents (Which of course are the ones pictured above.) more than Heidi and I did, and I believe that the feeling was mutual with them.

One thing that I will talk about though is the little white and red ceramic cups that are also pictured above. Grandma Elva would use these little cups to put Jell-O into. We would go over to their house, and chances were better than none that those little cups would be filled up waiting for us in her fridge. It was one of the true joys of my childhood to have Jell-O in those cups. Needless to say I was quite excited when about a year or two ago my Mother asked if I would like to have a few of the cups for my own.

You might be asking what this has to do with our little Elisabeth. I didn’t even think of the connection until about a week ago. You see, Elisabeth has to take medication to control her seizures and her infantile spasms. I won’t go into further explanation, since almost all of you read Lisa’s blog and know all about our little miracle. Well, the medicine she takes is something called Depakote Sprinkles. And when I say sprinkles, I mean it. They resemble the same kind of sprinkles that they put on sugar cookies. They do not dissolve in liquid, so the only way Elisabeth can take them is to eat them with yogurt or some sort of baby food. Since yogurt is her food of choice, that is what we usually use. And what do we put the yogurt and Depakote Sprinkles in? Yup, you guessed it, the Jell-O cups that my Grandma Elva used all of those years ago.

Ever since last week when I realized this, I have thought about my Grandma Elva every night when I give Elisabeth her medicine. I picture her up in heaven with that wonderful smile on her face while she looks down on her Great-Great-Granddaughter taking the medication that she depends on to make her life just a little more normal than it would be without it. And while I only have a few things in my possession from my Great-Grandparents, these are by far my favorite and most precious.


Lisa said...

Hi Donald...I'm off to ballet with the girls. I don't have time to read this all right now, but I look forward to reading it later tonight!

All my love, Lisa

Yasmine said...

How sweet. Family names ARE more special.

KaTrina said...

That was really touching and I really enjoyed reading it.

Thank you for sharing.

Mike Brinkerhoff said...

I loved those Jell-o cups too... I always loved going over to their house!!

Heidi 'n' Jeff said...

That is so true. I saw the cup in a picture Lisa posted of you and Elisabeth. I thought about grandma too.

If we didn't have them, we basically wouldn't have known how wonderful grandparents could be.

They also always had soda. I choose cream soda every time.

Kristen said...

This story and connection is really special. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.

Stephanie said...

Thank you for sharing. Precious memories

CARRIE H said...

That is a sweet story Don! It reminded me of a similar story with my favorite grandma and a special tea cup that she had just for me. Also it reminds me how precious time is and the smallest things that make life special. CH

SuzanSayz said...

Way to go and make me tear up son.

Grandma was the most loving, wonderful, awesome Grandma in the entire world.


And I can't thank Heavenly Father enough for letting her live long enough to know and love you and Heidi the way she did.

One day we will be with her again and that really will be heaven.

Thanks for my favorite post (of yours) of all time!

Love mom!

SuzanSayz said...

Oh one more thing. Did I get the picture back?

Janice said...

Love this post. All of my kids are named after family.

Lisa said...

Donald, I had a few minutes between dropping Lorelai off and teaching my first student of the day, so I decided to use them to read your post.

This is so sweet! How I wish I had known your grandmother! I am sure she must be a guardian angel over our Elisabeth Elva :)

I see that you un-cropped the picture. So artistic...lol...:)

Janice Head said...

Great post! I don't have that picture of Grandma and Grandpa so I copied it. Do you know who is jumping down the stairs on the right side of the picture?

David said...

it's amazing how an ordinary picture of a bowl can become interesting when you learn the story behind it.

dani said...

what a sweet post, thedonald!!! there is NOTHING like true-blue grandmothers, is there!!!??!?