The Grandmother Project - Stella Kalinina
Every wrinkle in their face, every line on their beautifully aged hand, every tiny crevice in the corners of their eyes tells us a story. Through their eyes we as their grandchildren see a life well lived much different from the way our own children live today. All their stories are in their heart as there was no social media for them to record it with. They are our grandmas, nanas, gigis, abuelitas and well, great grandmas. I call mine, grammy. And her name is Mable. Mable Bridgeman. She is from Shawnee, Oklahoma and has lived here in our hometown for 80 years. Mable is beautiful with bright blue vibrant eyes and strikingly silver hair and lives in a magical home in South Pasadena. A pristine, two story home full of antiques that are strategically displayed and she can (and would love to) tell you where each one of them came from. Every. Single. One. Many of which she traveled to obtain including cast iron skillets, a collection of washboards, a beautifully restored ice box and my husband's favorite, her Victrola. My grandad built many of the home's notable features, including the mantle for her fireplace in the living room where they were married. Life was just so simple then.
Not many people get to see her these days as she's become ill with dementia. No matter how much we visit, she will ask me 73 times in one visit who I am, whose kids are in her house, and to remind her of each of those things 73 more times. But the cool thing? The cool thing is, no matter how ill she is, she never ever forgets who my mommy is. And my mommy, her name is Sandy. Sandy Anderson. Sandy, my mom, takes care of her every single day. From hair appointments to grocery shopping to lunches and doctor appointments while providing so much love, attention and patience. A mother-daughter love that is far underappreciated by even our own family. And because of Mabel, we have her. Sandy had me, and I had Natalia and Francesca. Why does this matter? Because Karen Beard of SheStock along with photographer Stella Kalinina worked on a project called just that, The Grandmother Project. They captured the beauty in these women.
Stella scheduled a shoot with us in Mable's home and gifted us something spectacular. She gave me and my mother the opportunity to watch my youngest baby and her great grandmother interact with some of my grammy's most prized possessions. We went up the spare bedroom, the one my mom used to sleep in, and she asked my grammy to talk about her life. About the beautiful bed she snapped photos of, of her lovely home, of life as a grandmother. Life too, as a great grandmother. As I type this I'm surprisingly emotional because I realize in seeing this how lucky I am to have had this day. I'd like to share a couple outtakes with you, and then ask that you support their lovely project by clicking HERE and noting the beauty Stella captured in each of these powerful women.
Finally, if you're fortunate enough to have your grandmother still with us, give her a great big hug. Ask her questions. Listen to her stories. Take her photo, be inspired and make your own Grandmother Project. Then, share it with me. I want to show Stella the world of beautiful grandmothers out there and all those inspired to praise them.
Thank you, Stella.