Grandma Sarah

Grandma Sarah

I hear the car even before I see it drive up to the farm. My lips automatically pull up in a smile and I make my way out onto the porch. When Harm called me with the news that he had found the love of his life, and that he wanted to use the hill to get married, I almost cheered the lungs out of my body. I've heard stories about this Sarah Mackenzie before and lately I detected a change in the way my grandson talks about her. First, he started to call her Sarah, something he hadn't done before. It was just a subtle change, but a change nonetheless. Secondly, the tone of his voice changed. As if the feelings he has for her, changed over the past few months. Needless to say that I was floored when Harm told me that he and (back then she was still Mac) Mac decided that they were going to take care of the kids. I actually asked him if he had turned insane. But, no. There was no way of talking him out of it anyway. Once my grandson has something in his head, there is no way to talk him out of it.
And then, last week he called me that instead of two weeks, they had pushed the date back a week. That they're going to get married in four days. Almost gave me a heart attack. And that's not the first time in my life that he or his father had done that, but I don't really think that you get used to it. Not that it mattered that they were coming a week earlier; I had taken care of most of the things already. But I do think that for them it has to have been a hectic week. Finally, the car pulls up the driveway. Behind the wheel is my grandson. I can't believe he's finally getting married.
The woman getting out of the car is a beauty. If she is as caring as she is beautiful, Harm is a very lucky man. Harm looks up to the house and grins his father's smile at me the second he spots me. He winks and turns around to help the kids get out of the car. First the boy, then the girl, and Sarah lifts the baby in her arms. Aren't those the sweetest kids you've ever seen? Three kids… I sigh. To be honest, I'd pretty much given up hope that I would ever be a great-grandmother. But my grandson keeps surprising me. First he finds out what happened to his own father, and then he takes on a challenge that makes him one.
"Hey, Grams!" That smile of his is still in place. He must be very happy.
"Hello, darling." I step forward to give him a hug. I'm not a very small person, but Harm with his 6'4" still has to lean forward to hug me.
Sarah looks at me, not really knowing what to do. "Are you just going to stand there, Sarah? Come here, darling, I don't bite."
She starts to laugh and gives me a brief hug. "It's nice to meet you, Mrs. Rabb."
I arch an eyebrow. "Mrs. Rabb? That's what you are going to be in a couple of days. Me, I'm just Grams. Everybody calls me that."
"All right, Grams." Sarah takes a deep breath and Harm reaches for her hand. Those two are really something.
The kids are clinging to Harm. I didn't really expect anything else, I'm afraid. What little Harm told me about their past, it's not pretty. "And who are you?" The little boy looks up to me. Then to Harm for approval.
He sticks his hand out for me to shake. "Gabe."
"Very nice to meet you, Gabe. I'm Grams." Noa, or so I suspect since Harm always says that Shireen is the baby of the family, has wrapped her arms around Harm's neck. "And this little beauty?"
"Why don't you tell Grams who you are?" Harm asks her.
He doesn't have to say that twice. "NOA!"
Ah, so this little one is a piece of work. Bouncy and very excited. I laugh and turn to Sarah. "So then this has to be Shireen." Shireen is adorable. Those big green eyes… "How old is she?"
"Almost four months." Sarah's voice is filled with pride. And it should be. "Except for those two weeks, she has been with us all her life."
I'm impressed. Harm sounded very cheerful on the phone; I never thought that he would have a real family. But seeing the five of them like this, I can see that this is serious. "Well, come in. I have home made apple pie."
Sarah's eyes lit up. She turns to Harm. "Would you mind getting Reen's portable bed out? She'll sleep, and I don't want her to sleep in the carrier."
Harm nods, leans in to kiss her on her lips and walks over to the car after having set Noa down on the ground. Wow. This is a side of Harm I haven't seen before. Sarah ushers the kids into the house. The two little ones look around with suppressed curiosity. I saw Gabe looking around as he got out of the car earlier. Mmm, maybe we should let him play in the tree house Harm build for Harm Jr. It's still there.
"Do you want coffee or tea, darling?" I ask Sarah.
"Uhm, tea would be nice." She shifts Shireen to her other hip and pulls out chairs for Noa and Gabe. "You have a lovely house, Grams. I can totally understand why Harm is so fond of this place."
I smile, slicing up the still warm pie. "His father grew up here before he married Trish and moved down to California. Harm stayed over for complete summers when he was a kid. And he came here after his accident."
Sarah nods. She knows all that. Of course she does. It turned Harm in to the man he is today. "I know that. He restored 'Sarah' all by himself, right?"
I grin. "Oh, that stubborn grandson of mine. Yeah, he restored her completely by himself. Took all the time in world to do that, and to figure out what it he wanted for the rest of his life. He had a little help from friends and me, but the final decision was his." Harm walks into the kitchen the moment I tell Sarah about how Keeter and Diane pulled him out of his depressed state and Sarah just nods. I bet she heard it all before. The general version of the story anyway. He strokes the kids over their heads and takes Shireen over from Sarah to put her to bed. Knowing him, he brought their bags in as well. A couple of minutes later, he's back in the kitchen, lifts Noa in his lap and sits down.
"Mommy?" Gabe asks. He's not used to strangers around him, I can tell. But then again, he's just a kid. And he has been through a lot.
Sarah looks up and swallows her bite. "What is it, honey?"
"Can I have my color book and pencils?"
"Of course you can, baby. You know you can." Sarah reaches for his backpack and hands it to him. "Why don't you go sit in your chair before you pull everything out? We don't want Grams' kitchen to become a mess, now do we?"
Gabe happily trots back to his chair, pulls himself up and takes his color book and pencils out of his back and spreads them out on the table. Harm and Sarah have locked eyes and smile at each other. They haven't been here for an hour yet, but I can already see that Harm hasn't been this happy in his entire life yet. A grandmother knows. Especially this grandmother, who has seen her grandson go through so much.
The afternoon slowly carries on. Harm takes the kids outside to go play in the tree house, and I take Sarah upstairs so that she can show me her dress. The first thing coming out of the bags are the girls' dresses. "Oh, Sarah, they are beautiful!"
Sarah smiles at me. "Don't you think? I saw them and I fell totally in love." She smiles again and hands me the smaller version of the dresses. Shireen's, no doubt. It's a sleeveless organza dress in kiwi, complete with a soft pink sash and pink embroidered flowers on the skirt. "The girls are going to look beautiful in them, Sarah."
"That they are," Sarah agrees. "Harm and I went shopping with them the other day, to find something fitting to wear to the ceremony, and when we came out of the fitting room, his mouth just popped open." She laughs. "I've never seen him that dumbstruck."
I try to imagine a dumbstruck Harm and start to laugh when I can actually see him. "What did Noa think?"
"Noa loves her dress. She swirled around for Harm and kept saying 'Me a Princess, me a Princess!' She was so thrilled."
The next thing coming out of the bag is a five-piece mini tux. Gabe with his dark hair in a white tux… That's gonna be some sight. "It's adorable," I say, admiring the tux. "But why a white one? Aren't you afraid that it's gonna get all dirty?"
"I am," Sarah admits. "It was Harm's idea actually. Harm's going to get married in his dress whites, and then he figured that Gabe could have a white tux… No argument was going to work and to be completely honest with you, I think it's kinda sweet. Harm in a white uniform and Gabe in a white tux…"
Yes, that is something I can imagine too. It is sweet. Sarah reaches for another bag and unzips it. Then pulls out a simple, ivory colored dress. "Grams, this is probably a stupid question, but when Harm mentioned that you've been a seamstress… Do you still have your tailor's dummy?"
I smile. "Of course I do, darling. Follow me." The lady has taste, I have to say. And Harm was right; I used to be a seamstress for most of my adult life. I don't do it that often anymore, because I can't see that good anymore, but I still have everything that I used. And I still clean it every week. Some things just don't change. I flip the lights on as we enter the room and walk in. In the corner is my dummy. "It's a long dress, right?" Sarah nods and I adjust the height. "This should do it."
When Sarah has buttoned up her dress and we've adjusted it a little, we both step back and look at it. It's a very simple, elegant, strapless dress. It's nice. Sarah tilts her head to the side and looks from the dress to me. "I saw it, and I loved it, but I keep having this feeling that there is something missing."
That was exactly what I was thinking. "Mmm…" There is. She's right. The dress is beautiful, but there is something missing. And I think I know what. In the corner of the room is a chest with my own old wedding dress. I'm not going to make her wear it, Sarah has her own, but there is something in there that might come in handy. Opening the chest I stand back for a while. Sarah has followed and is now standing beside me.
"Is that your wedding dress?"
I nod and bend down to rummage through the chest. It has to be in here somewhere. Ah, there it is. Yes, this is exactly what I was thinking. I pick up the phone and dial a familiar number. "Evelyn? This is Grams. Hello, darling. Listen, could you do me a favor and come over? I need your help with something… No, it's about my soon to be granddaughter-in-law's wedding dress. I'll be here."
Sarah frowns at me. "Who was that?"
I smile. "Evelyn owns the bridal shop downtown. Today is always her day off, so we're lucky." I look at the dress again and then to the lace in my hands. "I think we could do something with this to make this dress a little prettier."
When Evelyn arrives twenty minutes later, I'm trying to drape the lace over Sarah's dress. Evelyn smiles at me when she sees how busy I am. "Grams, don't." She shakes her head. "Give that to me and tell me what you want with it."
Sarah went to get Shireen and comes back into the room. The two girls shake hands. "Sarah and I both felt there was something missing. So, basically, what I want to do, is to take that lace and make it into some sort of overcoat. Sleeveless, of course, and I think that we could pin it together just under the bosom. Have a train…"
For a moment Evelyn thinks. Pulls paper and a pen out of her bag and starts to make a sketch. Then she starts to move with the lace and asks me for some pins. Just minutes later the lace is pinned on the dress and both Evelyn and I step back to admire our work. Evelyn nods. "Don't you have a hairpin somewhere? Where is that old bronze one you got from Grandpa Rabb? The one with the three roses?"
I frown. "Oh, wait. Wait right here, don't go anywhere." Evelyn is right. I still have that bronze broche with the three roses I got from my late husband. It's an old one; I got it for our third anniversary. Let me see…. Ah, here it is. Yeah, this is something that could work. Those were the days… Handing it to Evelyn when I get back, she pins it right under the bosom of the dress. "Now that's a dress you can get married in," I say. "And it will solve a problem."
"A problem?" Sarah asks. "What kind of problem?"
I smile. "Now you already have something old, something new and something borrowed. The lace is old, your basic dress is new and the pin is borrowed. All we need is something blue."
Sarah starts to laugh. "You know, I hadn't even thought about that. I've been so busy with getting everything ready…" She shakes her head. "It looks amazing, Grams. But how do you think we're going to pull this off in four days? There are so many other things we need to do before Saturday…" Patting her arm, I look at Evelyn. "I'm sure that we can make this work."
Evelyn winks at my new granddaughter. "Don't worry about it Sarah. I'll have it done in the shop. Nikki should be happy with some extra work. Why don't you come in tomorrow to see if it all fits?"
We both look at Sarah who is staring at her dress, probably trying to imagine what she's going to look like in it. "You've turned it into a complete other dress," she whispers. "It looks amazing."
"And you're going to look amazing in it." I wrap my arm around her waist and kiss her cheek. "Harm's lucky to have you, darling." And I mean that. He really is.

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