This Mother’s Day, I’m thinking not so much of my own mother, but of my grandmother, my last grandparent, who recently passed away. It’s fine, it’s fine; it was a long time coming, and (sorry?) a bit of a relief after years of illness, weakness, and the frustration it caused for her. But I would be remiss not to remember the kindnesses she brought into my life.
She and my grandfather (although in fairness, it was mostly her) watched my sister and I every other day from almost birth through to kindergarten. She taught me to read. She cleaned and brushed the hair of my sister’s dolls. She begrudgingly let me do “science experiments,” which, when I was three, were limited to slicing open crabapples and dyeing cotton balls with food coloring. She made me (all of her grandchildren, actually) a quilt and let me pick the colors.
I still have dreams of going back to my grandparents’ house, the one they hadn’t lived in since I was maybe 12 years old. I dream that they’re both still alive, or that they’ve given the house to me. I dream about going back to this house more than I dream about going back to the house where I grew up, and dreaming about my grandparents’ house is always less upsetting because there are never any new people living in it.
So anyway. I’m thinking about my grandmother today, and also my grandfather, and also my other grandmother and grandfather, these people who may have been interested in seeing how I turned out, and who I sometimes miss so fiercely that event thinking about them feels like casting a line into the ether and pulling them back to me.
I’m still struggling to say anything about anything but am finding comfort in Kerouac’s Big Sur:
“…as far as I can see the world is too old for us to talk about it with our new words.”