- He wasn't trying hard enough.
- He enjoyed the attention.
- He wanted everyone to feel sorry for him.
- He had given up.
When we boil it down, we are the same. All of us. When I am pushing 90, I doubt that I will be as content as he is even in his discontentment. In a perfect world his answer about staying in the nursing home wasn't exactly what one would expect, or rather what I would expect, but our world isn't perfect. And neither are we. But who is the bigger person, the one who pushes for the perfection (me) or the one who accepts that it isn't (Grandpa)?
My cousins and I laughed and talked about the times at Grandma and Grandpas and the fights we had for the honor to dine off of this fine piece of dinnerware. In order to make it fair and just, Grandma would have us draw straws. And let me tell you, the winner always had bragging rights......
* As the only female grandchild for almost eight years, I was surrounded and outnumbered by my male cousins. There were five of them and only one of me. As they were playing war in the basement, shooting guns and making forts, I was trying to teach them. I was the teacher.
This was my aid:
Oh, I had no strategy.
I tried to teach.......they saw war tactics..... I gave up and surrendered and shortly after I was shot. That is how it worked.
*Although I don't remember this particular doily, I think it is safe to say that I offer a safe haven of sorts for doilies in my house. This one here will fit in nicely.
* Although I don't remember my grandma being a tireless baker, I do remember this cookie jar. Grandma worked out of the home for my Grandpa's oil company. She was too busy being a wife, and mother and grandmother to bake incessantly. The cookies in "The Cracker Barrel" were generally store-bought and kind of stale, but they were there just the same. Its presence there in her kitchen was expected as was the tireless affection she showered on her grandkids.Although she didn't have time to bake endlessly, she did bake. In fact, during family gatherings you could smell the hot rolls and cinnamon rolls far before it was time to eat. I remember being shoo-ed out of the kitchen on many occasions trying to sneak a roll or two prior to the meal. I would hurry and grab one and run off squealing. As much as everyone loved her rolls I am surprised that any of them ever made it to the table.
She made the best rolls ever!
I miss her and her rolls.
As the grandkids laughed and joked and shared stories they had to share, I felt like Grandpa's house was no longer lonely, if just for that day.
Grandpa didn't leave the nursing home this weekend and I wished that he could have been there as we retold different memories that we had, recounting how he and Grandma had shaped our lives.
However, as sure as I was of his absence, I was equally sure of Grandma's presence.As we were sifting through items, my cousin Corban came out of a bedroom with a knitted hat on that our Grandma used to wear. I could feel the warmth spread through my body and I knew that Grandma liked what she saw. As I took my eyes off Corban and turned to look at my mom and aunt, there was both a sparkle and a sadness in their eyes. My aunt said "Wow" and my mom said, "mom would love seeing you in that".
Even as she said it, I know that she knew that Grandma already had.
As I came home Sunday night and was putting my treasures up, I thought a lot about my life and the people in it. I thought about how different each family member is and yet how perfectly they fit together.
Don't misinterpret this as meaning that any, or all, of them is perfect. No one is. It is just that despite hardships, despite differences and despite distances, each person adds a different dimension to the unit.
Some are conservative, some are liberal. Some are Baptist and some are Catholic. Some view things as completely black and others, completely white.
Yet despite of this, or maybe because of this, everyone blends together almost effortlessly. When everyone is together you can feel the love that each one has for the other and it is this that makes each of us more alike than we are different. When someone isn't there, there absence is palpable.
As I was turning off the lights and heading to bed I paused and looked at the Bible of Grandma's that I had placed in my living room. I opened it up to look again at the inscription inside. It had been given to my grandma by her brother and his wife, prior to her being married: "December 25, 1942"
In the quiet of the house I let myself have a moment to miss her completely. Without distraction. There are so many things I would like to ask, share and tell. All of which I am sure she already knows......
And although I am extremely thankful for the memories and the stories that were both created and shared this weekend, I am most thankful for the story that was shared in this book.
It is because of this book that I know that someday we will see her again and I just know that she will have some stories of her own to share.
Who knows, maybe she will even greet me with some of her homemade rolls.