Ma grandmère (haibun)

This week’s quote prompt for Ligo Haibun Challenge,  focuses on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, more commonly known as ‘Mahatma’ (meaning ‘Great Soul’) Gandhi. This is the quote that inspired my haibun.

“Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”

As I was writing this I also had another prompt in mind for Haiku Horizon and the prompt was “comfort”.  I realized when I completed it that I had two themes in mind and yet, I find this important person I talk about was a significant comfort to me and important role model…my mentor and strength in life.


her comfort

always gave me


© clr Grand-Maman 2014

© clr Grand-Maman 2014



I am reminiscing of times passed in Grand-Maman’s house when she was still living there. I would arrive and she’d always have that mocking chuckle.  It was a teasing laugh with affection.  In French there is an expression, “Qui s’aime, se taquine.” {One teases a person they love}  I am quite tall and she would often greet me with a laugh and then ask me before I had time to sit down, “Oh, by the way, “la grand jaune” *.  I was holding these items here just for you.”

Warm feelings

taunting with affection

comforting words

Folded with care on a chair next to the washroom were tablecloths carefully ironed.   She ironed everything, even sheets and dish towels.  She would wait for me to store these high UP in the cupboard over the bathtub.  I know that sounds odd.  My grandfather built this house “à la pièce” {bit by bit}.  At first it was a snack bar for summer tourists who came over to rent a row-boat or go for a swim in the river.  He added more and more until it became a 2 bedroom home. perhaps he was still chief of police then and living at City Hall ….I am not too sure of the entire story and not many people are living to confirm this, so I am going by the memory of my youth.

I would take the pile of linen, stand up on the side of the bathtub and place them in the cupboard.  The ceiling in the washroom was about 12 feet high compared to the kitchen it was very high!. I guess that was once part of that snack bar.

Then we could sit and chat with a nice cup of tea.  I liked my tea strong because I added sugar and milk the way I used to as a child. Grand-Maman,  on the other hand like her tea like most French Canadians, black.  So when I would pour the boiling water in my cup, she would always say, “Don’t throw out the tea bag…put it in my cup…I don’t need it strong.”


© clr 2014

© clr 2014

Sipping my tea

the mind rewinds to times

that comfort me.

It always felt good to sit at the kitchen table and munch on some of her pies  or sugar cookies she had baked. And if there weren’t any, she would pop in some bread in the toaster and we’d enjoy toast with des cretons or molasses.  The latter was one of her favourite.   She would talk about stories when she was younger.  Sometimes I would talk about a friend or colleague I worked with in town and she would remember the mother of that friend.  Most probably she had delivered them at birth since she was the village mid-wife, she had delivered thousands of babies in all the surrounding towns including most of her grandchildren…I was one that was born in her bed!

She would talk about madame so and so, the wife of a military man when she had pensioners boarding in her home during WWII that were referred to her from the Military Camp in Farnham, our home town. People called her for recipes,  gardening, how to patch their roof, how to sew a coat, advice on child rearing and for ailing the sick or a dying relative. Being a midwife was only one smart part of her role, as well as raising seven children, supporting her husband as Chief of Police, being a fervent Catholic.  She brought me to my first communion as everyone seemed busy that day.  As if raising her children was not enough, when I was 14 and my sister 16, she took us in with our mother when our father flew the coop.  Never once complaining about wanting to “live” for a change but continued to cook, clean and nurture us as we were her own…proudly too!


Many called her madame Daudelin, others called her Garde Daudelin (nurse) and most just called her Grand-Maman Daudelin.

When GrandMaman passed, I asked for those four cups that I favoured .  They look like ordinary “diner” style cups but still they meant a lot to me.    One particular cup had some paint smudged on the bottom and I NEVER wanted to scrub it off.  There is something about that particular cup that comforts me when I drink my tea.  It holds old memories of times passed and the bond and love I had for Grand-Maman who was my second mom and my model in life.


humble, selfless

ma grandmère.



modeste, généreuse

ma grandmère

All our visits to her home had a purpose. She had linen or cans to store on shelves, work for my uncles to get done outside or fix some pipes in the basement, my mom would colour and style her hair regularly…everyone had a feeling they gave her something  when they visited and felt good about themselves when they left; and yet, she gave so much to all of us in wisdom, love, hope and mostly purpose in life.


breathing strength

living life with love, faith, hope

ma grandmère.


elle souffle une force

vivant ses  trois vertus,



© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/06/26

*la Grand Jaune {this was a character in a French Québecois show, “Séraphin- Un home et son pêché” and she was tall with blonde hair}

This was submitted for: Ligo Haibun Challenge

also  Haiku Horizon and the prompt was “comfort”

Give me strength…

Oh dear I done did it! Dear dear me, please give me the strength to get through the next 7 days without him… {A mother’s sigh…not to be confused with just any sigh…anguish, longing and sense of dread…attracting sympathy especially from other mothers and grandmothers BUT may also illicit groans from the cold hearted.}

I had to send him off for a WHOLE WEEK! I miss him already!!! This brought back so many memories.

Do you remember the feeling you had the first time your eldest child had to go to daycare or kindergarten? Oh, boy did I cry and wander around for days wondering how I was going to cope and worried about him. Would he be able to tell someone when he was hungry for a snack? Would someone “get it” when his feelings got hurt because he was so sensitive? How would he manage in public not sucking on his thumb for comfort? I do remember when he got home, how he would curl up on the lazy boy, leaning his head on the arm, slip his left hand up his sleeve to minouche {stroke} his forearm, and stick his thumb from his right hand, while watching an episode of Scooby Doo….awww, total bliss!

At least those were hours of detachment I gradually got accustomed to.But at least I had my youngest child with me to fill my heart and my time whilst he was in the hands of “other” adults. Oh, dear, to relinquish trust like that took time. Building a good rapport with educators helped.

But oh, you would think with the second child Kindergarten would be a snap, no problem. I should have been a pro, right? NO! We both cried every morning, my daughter and me, clutching to each other like crazed females.  It took months to get accustomed to my baby no longer home. Now what was I for 6 hours a day?  What was my role now?  That’s when Mommy became a  student again.

Then came the sleepover, oh dear! Part of me was relieved, “Oh, goodie, time for me and his father to play!” and another part of me would sneak out and dig needles of guilt into my “good mommy heart”. “What was I thinking of having some adult fun when my children were away for an entire night?!”

And then the summer camp came around. It was a bible camp in the Eastern Townships at Lac Massawippi. My eldest was staying away for an entire week!!   Oh, my how that was trying!! A whole week at 7 years old, he was to sleep in a tent! The nights would certainly be chilly and damp!! And what if he had a nightmare or woke up looking for HOME? What if an animal was lurking around and he didn’t hear everyone screaming to run out of the tent? He was such a heavy sleeper, a train could run through his bedroom and he would sleep right through it! Oh, how I remember those first few days when he was at camp. I missed him so much and was so worried; I had to shut the door to his bedroom because just walking by that open door in the hallway and seeing that empty room would make my heart sink.

Parents were not even allowed to phone the camp, so the children did not get homesick. I would phone the cook…that’s right? I would check in with the cook a few times that week to see if my little guy was eating alright. And he was!! That was a good sign, right?!

Well, I did get through those trips and so did he and she.  They never knew about my angst…that was for me to know and to eventually grow out of. I did. He’s a grown man. And my daughter and I went through the similar angst as well…almost carbon copy but different…she had a very different personality…very independent. I think we both struggled with the push and pull of becoming separate.

But now today, I am brought right back to those times and am not sure how I am going to manage …a whole week without…a whole week not communicating!! Oh, dear, how will I manage…it is harder now that I live alone…I mean I don’t have a husband or partner or roommate to share my worries and yearnings of not having him around…

Oh dear {sigh!}

I guess I will have to just suck it up, right?! It has been 3 hours already and I am slowly getting used to the idea …I left without crying though…that’s good, right? I left feeling I will be able to trust these people who will be caring for him all week, right?

I had to come to work after dropping him off, so that will keep my mind busy.

I have no clue how I will be by tomorrow or Tuesday! or Wednesday!! Oh, my, maybe I will try to get into the Hallowe’en mood and focus on fun things children like…adults do too, actually.

Just have to suck it up and be an adult about this…

Yes, I will just have to wait until Staples Office (Bureau en Gros calls me when my dear, loving laptop is ready from a week of diagnostic testing and servicing…{sigh} yes, that’s it…I shall have to rely on my sturdy notebook, my smart phone and the computer at work. I know I can do it!!!

The End, by Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

This was a fun exercise Lilith Colbert, a real goddess in poetry and narratives has prompted on Wednesday Short Story Prompt #26 – In Wolf’s Clothing at WDBWP (We Drink Because We’re Poets)

Our challenge this week was to concoct a tale that’s more than meets the eye – a Transformer of shorts, a mind-boggling of epic proportions. What a great occasion to mess with the minds of our readers! I hope my readers enjoyed this fun story. I had a blast writing it.  I was composing it in the car in my head on my drive to work after I dropped off my laptop at Staples.


© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts,  originally written on October 27, 2013  on my blog httpp://


Photo credits:  Lonely Evening – Woman Thinking About Problems .  Waiting Of Night …