My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, May 29, 2011

my sweet steel magnolia

Yesterday we went over the mountain to grandma's house for dinner and a show. My sweet little grandma lives only an hour away but it's a perilous, nauseating drive over the mountains with hairpin curves and dizzying elevations. I would love to spend more time with her but literally, there is a mountain between us.

They increased my blood pressure meds on Friday (this was planned at the visit the week before) so I'm a little fuzzy headed and dizzy. The constant curves over the mountain - constant motion - made the dizziness worse and my back went into horrible spasms. I'm only mentioning this because truly, it was a difficult drive over... a painful visit and a terrifying drive home in the dark after the show.

I considered bailing out on her. I'm glad I didn't. What a lovely time with my sweet steel magnolia! She's been sick with an upper respiratory virus. She's not as steady as she once was... when we walked, she held onto my arm. But it was so precious to have her holding on to me. She paid for dinner - we decided to go to Huddle House and the young waitress knew grandma and knew she had been sick.

At dinner we talked about her parents, my great-grandparents. Her parents were older when she was born. Her father died of a brain tumor in 1939 when she was only 14. I sat and did the math and we realized her mother had died when grandma was 42. By my age... she had lost both of her parents. I mentioned this to her... and mentioned how much I still depend on my parents... and how lost I would be without them to lean on. She said, "it was a blessing to have them as long as I did and they did a good job raising us..."

(actually... my math and her memory were both bad... she would have been 52 when her mother died)

We talked about my brothers... who I hear from and who I don't. She said her brother didn't communicate much - just a guy thing. She talks to her one surviving sister, my other sweet steel magnolia, Great Aunt Bette, every other day or so. They were born 13 months apart - "irish twins" I like to say - and they have always been there for each other.

We went to see Dearly Departed. It's a play - a comedy - about a redneck family who have lost their patriarch. It's funny... laugh out loud funny in parts. The language is a bit course. They cursed a bit too much for the elderly audience in Hayesville, North Carolina.

Before the play grandma chatted with several people who knew her. She was so proud to introduce me to her friends... and proud of Austin... who tolerated the experience so beautifully. I mean, seriously... what 17 year old kid wants to spend his Saturday night hanging out with his mom and his 87 year old great-grandmother? He never complained. He dutifully held the door when he should... suffered hugs and pecks... made eye contact when he met people. He was a great help to me and I was glad to make that memory with him - with both of them.

When we took grandma back home and got her settled in... she kept telling me how much she enjoyed spending time with me... she told me to take care of myself, to keep working at getting healthy... she said, "I want you to have a good life..." it almost sounded like a goodbye... but it's truly a sentiment that I will carry with me. Most of the time we're good at giving a quick, "love you" to our family members but it's rare that we share that wish for them... and that truly is what I wish for all my loved ones... all of you too... I want you to have a good life.

God is good. We're so blessed to have her in our lives. And no matter how painful it is, I'm going to make the effort to go over the mountain more often. I want her to have a good life too... and I've definitely learned, part of having a good life is having the ones you love nearby.

Hope you're all having a great weekend... I'm in major chill-axation mode. Having a good life indeed!
Love and hugs, y'all.


Bookncoffee said...

What a sweet entry. Grandmas are special. I miss mine so much. Hope the fuzziness goes away. Happy Memorial day.