Tuesday, April 06, 2010

8.6 Decades

Today's my gram's birthday.

She's the last living parent of my parents, and I'll deny saying it if ever comes up in the afterlife (I don't think they can read blogs from there) but she's the one I needed to live the longest.

My gram can talk smack (and laugh and joke about people) with the best of us, but generally, she gives people the benefit of the doubt and speaks about shortcomings of others from the perspective of "They are probably trying to do their best..."

I've heard stories that as a parent, my gram wasn't as- should we say "ZEN"- as I know her to be... but my relationship with her has always been one where she loves me in a demonstrative yet quiet way. I notice her giving people a lot of breathing room without cynically lowering her expectations of them.

Lately, I've spent a little too much time thinking about how I'm going to handle it if/when she dies. She has a friend that just turned 99 this year, so this doesn't have to be "around the corner," but I'd be foolish not to consider some of the implications of her 86th birthday. I've realized some things that I tried to convey to her tonight when I was driving her home from dinner.

T: Gram, you know I really love you.
G: I love you too.
T: It's not just a 'gram' thing, you are like, one of my best friends. I've learned so much from you, but also, still now- mostly every day- I'm still learning things from you...

This is true. I call her for recipes, to ask her about plant life and growing or buying food. I ask her about varmints and soil and trees and flowers, and where to buy different things that I can't seem to find. I ask her about remedies and her opinion on politics and how to handle relationships. I talk to her about grief and what works to heal hearts... Which reminds me, I've got to call her about this chirping sound...

My gram has a lot of children and grandchildren and she has different relationships with all of us. Not "closer" to some or any hierarchical system of worth; the relationships simply manifest in different ways. She lets all of us be who we are and doesn't compare us to each other in a judgmental or unhelpful way. She doesn't ask us to be who she wants us to be in her presence. At some point, I learned that my cousins talk to her about subjects that I shy away from. Example: sex, sexuality, their sex lives and even my gram's sex life. That revelation was kind of cool for me because i didn't even realize that there are ways that I edit myself out of polite "respectfulness" and there are things they get to know about her just by asking and dipping their toes (and feet and ankles) into topics I might not.

Tonight in the car, my gram talked about ML and how grateful she is that he is okay after his illness. She told me: "Both your boys are beautiful... They are just like miracles." Then she paused and said, "you did pretty good with your (turkey) baster." Sweet laughter.

She knows the story of the year of unsuccessful infertility doctor attempts and the "last-ditch effort" at home before we planned to buy new donor sperm that resulted in JB. Tonight I filled in more details about our friends L & F and how L mocked our nursing credentials after she knocked up her wife at home using nothing but a frozen swim team, her fingers, supplies and info found on the internet (and, i think, a head lamp.) I also told her about katy's other friends from College who after hearing our story and us tell L & F's story, they went home from reunion last May, stopped a years-long cycle of infertility treatments and procedures, and got pregnant the (almost) old fashioned way. My gram laughed at these tales and said, "Good for you!"

There it is.

If someone would have told me that my gram and I would be giggling about how me and my lesbian friends got ourselves knocked up, as I drove her home on her 86th birthday... well, let's just say I would not have believed that person was dealing from a full deck...

But my gram knows what is important and that is people, relationships, laughter, and love.

I am blessed to be of this line.

When I think of this song (below) I think of my gram, her love of flowers and her life as a gardener and how she has raised, protected and 'tended to' all of us:
i was born a garden rose
it was the only life i'd known.
i felt the touch of tending hands,
got my rain from a watering can.
From the time I was a seed, I have had everything i need
And I grew up and i grew strong,
Till the day I saw past the garden wall
- Kris Delmhorst, "Garden Rose"

Thank you, Gram.
Happy Birthday!

1 comment:

andrea said...

what a gift you have to so amazingly put emotion into words. can you see the mascara runnong down my cheeks!!!! :) love you lady