I read today that all of a woman’s eggs develop in her body when she herself is still in utero. At four months, the female fetus develops its ovaries and all of the eggs that lie therein. Which means that the seeds for every single one of us, every single human being, are planted in our mothers while our mothers are still within our grandmothers. In a sense, we were all born of our grandmothers.
Here is my dilemma: social convention has it that you should attend a close one’s funeral, but what if you don’t want to?
At 96, my Grandma Clara Yeager was pissed. Dad and his siblings sent her to live at Woodbridge Nursing Home. We visited her once a week while Grandma groused at Dad for putting her there in the first place. One day, a nurse took Dad out of the room for a private chat. My sister wasn’t there that day, and Grandma took the occasion to make a request — bring her some cherry cordials. Grandma rarely talked to me, much less made a direct request so I didn’t ask why — my dad returned to the room and it was clear this was secret. Do I help Grandma? Or do I follow the rules and refuse to buy Grandma her cherries?
It happens slowly at first. You notice little things and you make sense of them, you brush them away with a sort of convoluted logic, not unlike a wish, and you assure yourself it can’t really be happening. It is unthinkable, that someone who is so alive, so bright, brighter than almost anyone, could be dimming. Then you notice more things, and what once was unthinkable becomes undeniable, and all you want to do is to stop it, there must be away to stop it! You can’t just stand back and watch them changing, can you?
My grandmother will not be at my wedding. The woman who was always so lively, so patient, and so strong is gone. She will never make me fresh tortillas. We will never again spend a day happily digging in her garden. She will not attend my wedding. The stroke marked her. She has only a little use of her right hand. She tires easily, she loses words in the middle of sentences. She confuses names. The worst part of this is that she knows exactly what the stroke took from her.
When I think about being a grandma, I feel like I should be older, more patient, have money, be able to spoil him, take him places. Instead, I walk with him and his aunt to the park. I drag them to the library because “grandma loves books.” I play music loud in the car and plan my next tattoo. All things I guess grandma’s don’t do. Or maybe they do. I do anyway.
If you live in the United States you know how we just looooooove to make holidays for everyone, and September 8 is yet another: it’s National Grandparent’s Day! I’m a big fan of celebrating just about anything and anyone, so I’m totally on the Grandparent’s Day train. While looking around for cute ideas for stuff my kid could do for his long-distance grandparents, I realized I don’t know ANYTHING about the origins of the day. Anyone up for a history lesson/craft party? Let’s do it.
We live on the West Coast, and the grandparents (my in-laws, my mother, my father and my step mom) live in three different East Coast cities. My eight-month-old son is the ONLY grandchild on either side. The grandparents are (understandably!) enthusiastic and each set wants to visit every couple of months, which adds up to a LOT of travel and/or house guests.