Leaving my grandmother’s house the other day there was a lady sitting waiting on her ride in the lobby. I turned to say hello and she replied, “Hi baby” in true grandmother fashion in only a way a grandmother could/would respond. I could have sat by her and leaned on her shoulder just because her voice seemed so soothing. Wrapped all into one her hello actually said, “Hi, how are you? What’s going on? Come rest child.” Within this two second experience I had these thoughts, I was amazed. Should I be concerned that I’d just left my actual grandmother’s home and got all this from a stranger on a bench in the lobby? In some ways I’m not sure, perhaps because I don’t exactly have that type of relationship with my Grandie (grandmother). Before I continue I have to say between my deceased grandmother (may she rest in peace) and my last surviving grandmother (Grandie) and I were/are the closest. She isn’t a baking, skip to the park, knitting grandmother (smile) more like a “Madea” from the famous Tyler Perry franchise. If you’ve seen Madea you know at the source of it all she has a good heart and loves her family but she doesn’t accept any disrespect and favors the ‘old school’ way of thinking among other things. I give this description to say besides saying hello and goodbye she doesn’t do hugs and kisses, well sometimes but only for her grand kids (seemingly). However what she does do is give. My Grandie is a G-I-V-E-R she has bailed every family member out probably 3xs or more and given to them on top of that. I so appreciate the relationship I have with her and that I can say I know her, I love her, and I know she loves me.
This past Saturday morning I fulfilled what has seemingly become my new monthly duty of shopping for my Grandie. Years ago my grandmother and I seemingly became running buddies a couple of times a month. I would take her to the doctor and after we’d go to one of my favorite breakfast spots: Valois. On other trips we’d go to Target, Sears, or grocery shopping. In the beginning she’d seem to always call at the most inopportune times but I made a commitment to her that I would take her where she needed to go as often as I could. Those errand days became our little ritual if-you-will and though I already knew I was favored by her, every time we hung out it brought us closer in relationship and connection. I think this went on for about 2 to 3 years until our “outings” came to a screeching halt. My grandmother had a mild heart attack and fell on the floor lying for hours until a family member decided to check on her due to her phone ringing for hours unanswered. I’m thankful to report my Grandie is still alive and well. She has yet to fully recover walking independently and having the complete use of an arm but it is my true belief that if she continued therapy and overcame the fear of falling she would be 100%. With that shared, as I visited her I realize or shall I say remember more and more how much I love her and I’m grateful for her presence in my life. A presence that’s always been no matter how crazy she seemed, no matter what behaviors exhibited that weren’t so pleasant, there is not a day that could pass where I could question her love for me.
My shopping trips sometime turn into a random visits (the best kind), this latest visit was a good time of card playing and dancing to the blues. My Grandie loves her music and her beer (smile) she can’t indulge in beer or other favorites as she used to and thank God as she doesn’t need to but I think when you’ve lived, raised your children (alone mind you), overcome health crises alike her, given and given, you earn the right to enjoy a few…well indulgences. As we sat and played her favorite card game Pitty-Pat we ate McDonald’s and sang tunes like “You Took My Last Dollar” and “You Put a Spell On Me”. Well…ok I didn’t “sing” but I joined in her occasional one shoulder dance as she thought it brought her luck as she played cards against me. It was fun to see her enjoying herself and being well the Grandie I’ve always known despite her recent short-term (in Jesus’ name) ailments. I thought to myself in that moment I’m so thankful to be 32 and still have a surviving grandmother. That may sound odd but with me never knowing my grandfather’s and my other grandmother passing before I even got married, I’m thankful. The visit ended on a high note my putting away groceries and doing some light cleaning that she almost always refuses (little does she know I hate cleaning but hate dirt a little more) so as I continued she begin to add little instructions and additions, all we could both do is laugh because she really is a funny lady.
I made it a point to commit that very moment and the visit in its entirety to memory so I could have yet another keepsake. My grandmother I believe is 81 (not sure) but we’ve all always agreed with her saying she will be alive until 110 and I actually always believed it. However in the event God calls her home sooner like say 109 (smile) I will have this and other wonderful memories of time spent, laughs had, and meals shared with my “Genius Grandie” my term that grew from her always referring to me as her “Genius Grandgirl.”