Monday, March 9, 2009
My cousin came down from Vegas this weekend, wanting to spend as much time with our grandmother as is humanly possible.
Because things don’t get better when you are 84 and post-stroke.
Friday night grandma woke the house up at 3:00 a.m, standing at the bottom of the stairs, wearing all of her necklaces, a night my cousin dubbed “Mardi Gras.”
It felt good to laugh about it.
Because most of the time it’s so damn sad. Watching someone so pivotal in your life, someone who used to be able to out-walk you on the nearby trail, someone who you have on audio tape yelling at you that you were going to get “as fat as that mail lady in Chicago” if you didn’t stop eating bowls of neopolitan ice cream as an 8 year old, someone who cured your son from a horrible cough by covering him in mashed potatoes, slowly fade away into someone you can barely recognize.
It felt so good to laugh.
On Saturday we took our beloved Babcia to Crab Cooker, a local seafood eatery you should be jealous isn’t in your neighborhood. We sat down, my sister, my cousin, my Babcia and I, and we placed our orders. Suddenly my cousin asked “Babcia, did you bring your teeth?” Babcia was clearly without her chompers and nodded no. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. Here we are, trying to take her on a nice luncheon with her granddaughters, and she leaves her teeth behind at home.
We had to pace her throughout the meal; she stores her food like a chipmunk sometimes. We laughed with her, and at her and we teased and hugged and loved her. It was no different than at home. It was a natural exchange of love and patience and respect.
And when I got up to go to the bathroom, the lady dining alone at the table in front of us stopped me and placed her hand on mine.
“Is that your grandmother?” she asked.
“Yes. She’s our grandma.” I replied.
“I can’t tell you how beautiful it has been to watch you girls interact with her. You must love her so much. You just don’t see that kind of love anymore, not from young people. You have made my day. She is a lucky woman.”
I held back tears and thanked her for the compliment.
I felt a little taller coming back to our table, and shared the conversation with my cousins.
Love shouldn’t be old fashioned.
Go hug your grandma.
Go help someone elderly cross the street.
Go show our senior citizens that we are not hopeless or careless or too busy to love and respect one another.
“See how lucky you are grandma?!” we teased.
Knowing full well that we were the lucky ones.