Hi there ~ Even though I'm Blogging Without Guilt, I sometimes still feel badly when too much time has gone by. There's only about a million times during the day (and, therefore about 7 million during the week) where I think of something I'd like to share with you all. My biggest hurdles are time and energy: I often have to spend the time I have trying to re coop the energy I don't. So blogging gets the short stick, and that's probably why I have about 6 regular readers.
But the thing is? I really like those readers, and don't want any of you to think that I don't appreciate the time you spend here, reading these posts, listening to these stories, commenting on the cuties in my life. I really, really do.
So, moving on:
One of the things that was going on this week, in case you hadn't heard, is BlogHer... I am, obviously, not there, but I've been following some of the live blogging sessions, and I have a post I'd like to finish up tonight or tomorrow on a topic close to my heart.
I actually have, like I said, lots of topics close to my heart... it's just the getting them out onto the screen that's the issue. Tonight's topic (besides assuaging my guilt at leaving the same post up for almost a full week) is supposed to be my Grandmother's birthday.
My last surviving grandparent turned 91 today, and put together that way, the subject and the predicate combine to make a very frightening sounding sentence. However, I'm going to put that aside for a bit and tell you that my Grandmother does not seem 91 - she's got some health issues, sure... but she handles them.
I just typed and erased this sentence: "She's the same woman at 91 that she was at 71, and she was probably the same then as she was at 51 and all the way back." I erased it because it is, of course, completely false... she's very much not the same woman she was twenty years ago, or 10 years ago, or 50 years ago, because that's impossible. She's a different woman, because she's had 10, 20, or 50 more years of experience to add to who she is... but the point I was trying to make is that she's still HER.
Add 6, 12, 24, or 56 years, but she's still herself. She hasn't lost more than a marble or two, and since she had 9 children, you can blame that on them. Her health challenges are challenging, sure, but they're a part of who she is now, and she faces them, lives with them, adapts to them, because she has to.
She's still a mother that worries over her baby boy - even if that baby boy turns 66 this year.
She's still a flutterer who can't sit at the table for more than 3 consecutive minutes without having to buzz out to the kitchen to hustle other people along.
She still has her faith, though it's been melted, molded and remixed.
She still has the memories of growing up in New Jersey with a father who had little love to share with the children he had with the wife he mourned the loss of.
She still knows exactly what it feels like to be a young wife and have to leave your family behind and move in with your in laws - and she'll warn you against it early and often, if you ask her.
She can still imagine what would've happened if her first child hadn't been born when she was so young, or if her last child hadn't have come so much later.
She knows - more than most people - what it's like to live through loss, and that there's no escaping it, no matter how you try.
She knows to take what she can get, and to be happy for what she has, but that doesn't mean she doesn't wish for more.
It's an odd realization, that moment when you recognize that your parents or your grandparents are actually people, and not just who they are in relation to you. I'm pretty sure I was about 12 the first time I realized my mother had a whole life before I was born, and it was about 2-3 years later as my grandmother and I were trading books back and forth between us, that it suddenly occurred to me that she probably didn't just skip right over the love scenes. Suddenly embarrassed, I found it almost impossible to pass my books along - there were naked people in these books! And they were having sex! And... talking about it!!! She's my GRANDMOTHER (ALL CAPS!)))
I mentioned it to my mother, who found my embarrassment hilarious, of course, and shared the thought with Grandmother while we were having tea one day. (Both of my grandmothers have always been big tea people.) And Grandmother just laughed and said "NTE, I have 9 children... where did you think they all came from? You think there's something new in those books?" And they laughed as I turned what I can only assume was a very rosy red color.
It was one of those things that clicked in for me, though: Grandmother is an actual person, and she's had sex, she's had good jobs and bad jobs, she's gone on vacations - she's just a person. And I became really interested in her life, and connected to her in a way that we hadn't been able to connect before. I wanted to know, and I started to really listen, and it is as simple as that.
It's strange to me, to be coming up on thirty, to realize that age doesn't change us by default. I've gotten older without acknowledging it, really... and the number hardly ever tallies up to how I am feeling: Most days I feel like I'm the 91 year old, as everyone else runs circles around me, and live the lives I want but can't have... But my brain could be 12, or 21, or 63, depending on the time of day, weather, what I'm wearing.
So, while my grandmother may have turned 91 today, I'd have to say she spent part of the day as a teenager, another part as a doting mother; some reliving her times as a newlywed and some remembering just how many people she'd lost during all of those years. But since some of the day was set aside for acting like any other woman in the presence of those she loves, I hope that made her feel as young as she seemed.
Ta for now, bloggy buddies, it's lights out for this tired chica. I'm going to just lay down for a bit, see if I can't pretend I'm 12 and invincible again. It's worth a shot, right?