“A close relative to red, the energy of orange is gentler. Orange radiates warmth; it uplifts and gives confidence. Orange is the happiest color.”

There’s an orange keychain on the handbag I always used to carry when I was younger. It was given to me by my grandmother. I don’t carry handbags very often anymore because they’re so big, but the keychain remains hanging from the handle. It makes me smile; it’s an orange heart and inscribed in pretty curly letters is the phrase, I love you just the way you are. The handbag itself is a brown and white print with orange zippers and accents, so I was especially excited to attach my new keychain when she gave it to me because it matched perfectly! She probably knew this, she had that way about her.

I was incredibly fortunate to grow up with the grandmother that I did. She and Mother were very close, and so my grandmother was always around. Both of my grandparents were, and I felt so special having two people who cared for me so deeply. I called my grandmother “my beloved,” because she was my very best friend.

She was beautiful, with silver hair and sparkly brown eyes and a smile that was so lively. Anyone could tell this about her, because she was always smiling. Sometimes people are described as being “young at heart,” and my grandmother truly was. Aging had no effect on her soul. Around my grandmother, anyone would feel happy. You could talk to her for hours, about anything you wanted. If you said something in conversation that happened to be the lyrics to a song, she would start singing in her best impersonation of the artist. I loved going out with my grandmother, even just to the supermarket, because she had witty, sarcastic comments for everything surrounding her. On my birthday she would craft handmade cards for me with textured paper and stickers and sometimes old pictures, and always with a thoughtful message inside. She was such a unique woman, so pleasant and spirited.

The orange keychain she gave me also brings memories of the orange flowers on the white apron she wore when we’d bake together. My, I loved baking with my grandmother! We made berry scones and chocolate chip cookies and confetti cupcakes, and she knew all the tricks to make our treats the best. She had her own special recipe for little lemon cookies with powdered sugar on top. The insides would be soft and gooey but the sugar would harden and the tops cracked open a bit, and they were delightful. We baked a lot in the fall, and that was her favorite season because it wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t too cold. While our treats were in the oven we’d sit at her kitchen table and wait, and she’d look out the window at the sun and the orange leaves that had fallen by her trees and remark, “It’s a beauteous day outside!”

I love you just the way you are. That is what my keychain says and that is how my grandmother felt about me. She never let me forget that, and with her I’d often get a warm feeling and think to myself, “I am loved.” It’s a wonderful thing to be loved, and as wonderful as my grandmother was I sincerely hope she knew that she was just the same. She was loved by a little girl who called her “beloved” and who always strived to be as optimistic and radiant as she was. As I found my path in life, I naturally grew a little further from my grandmother. I couldn’t spend entire weekends baking with her, but she always reminded me she was so proud of me for the things I was doing.

To my grandmother,  I love you just the way you are.

Leave a Reply