Category Archives: Celebration

A Glow

It is eerily quiet in this house now that we two are the only ones left rattling around. For almost two weeks we had a little person around us 24/7. In preparation for our trip to celebrate my younger granddaughter’s first birthday, I kept four-year-old Alyssa away from daycare. Though she loves school, I was afraid she would pick up some germ surprises to take to Carmen, who does not go to daycare.

Sometimes I wish I could stop thinking like a nurse, an infectious disease nurse, no less. But that doesn’t seem to ever become a possibility. And of course, I can never stop being an overprotective grandmother. But my plan worked well. Alyssa remained healthy and she fell in love with her little cousin. And for her part, Carmen loved toddling around after her big cousin.

Though RA went with me, and made sure I knew it was with me, I stubbornly refused to give it any quarter. Instead, I focused on enjoying a whirlwind week with my two grandbabies. From having them pose together for a professional photographer, to our trip to New Orleans, a fun day spent touring a children’s activity museum, then stopping at a pumpkin patch to pick out 25 pumpkins to serve as party favors for the birthday fiesta.

It was a little bit of heaven while it lasted and now that I am home, I miss all that activity. I especially miss that little voice and the little hand that slipped into mine at regular intervals, wanting to make sure that I was still her Na, even though she was having to share me with someone else.

We are back to “normal” now; all of us back to our routines. After a day of rest, it’s time for me to get back to work. But I have fresh memories to keep me company. To keep me warm and my heart aglow

Birthday fiesta

Sweet Memories

I remember when I used to scour the stores looking for just the right basket. And when I found that, I went hunting for the just the right gift. What was it they were into at that particular time, in that particular year? Their whims changed with the wind and turned me into a weather vane, always pointing in a different direction.

It gave me untold pleasure to follow their beckoning. I would hide to arrange everything in their baskets just so. And then hide the baskets themselves until that Saturday night when I had to stay up and wait till they were sound asleep. Only then could I sneak into their rooms and place the basket where it would be the first thing their eyes would light upon come Easter morning.

Those days, those moments are now filed away in my memory banks. They are images of times past, marching before my eyes like clips of a movie collage. I needn’t worry anymore about constructing the perfect Easter morning surprise. Now they surprise me. Now they give to me. The most precious of all gifts.

Easter Sunday

 

My granddaughter Carmen (for some reason reminding me of Carmen Miranda).

Happy Easter everyone!

To The Future!

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. That sounds so cliché.

Today is the first day of the second part of my life. That sounds horrendous!
Who wants to live 120 years?

Today is just another day, another Saturday in a long string of Saturdays I have lived through. Another Saturday in perhaps a future string of Saturdays awaiting me. I hope not too many.

Both my parents lived another 29 years from the point I’m standing in now. 29 years. I think if I was offered another 29 years, I would say, No, thank you.

If I knew I could live what would essentially be the last third of my life as I am now, the physical status I’m in at present, RA and all, I might say yes. Enthusiastically, yes!

But, we can’t know what is to come. There are no guarantees.

And I suppose it’s just as well.

So, I raise my glass in a toast as I blindly go where I have never gone before.

To the future!!

Tequila Turkey

It’s that time again. Time to figure out what to serve on Christmas Day. I go through this every year, the pondering, the planning.

It’s the same thing every Thanksgiving; I’m always wanting to tweak the usual fare. This year I did. While visiting my son, I became acquainted with the Food Network. Seems it was always on so I watched. This particular chef caught my interest. As did her recipe for the aforementioned tequila turkey.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/apricot-and-tequila-glazed-turkey-recipe/index.html

The results of this recipe were in one word, scrumptious. The turkey was moist to the point that chewing was practically optional. Everyone raved. That turkey made the quickest disappearing act ever. Leftovers, what leftovers?

I debated whether to repeat this recipe for Christmas, but I’m just not in a turkey mood. After some thought and discussion we came up with an idea. The one ingredient we’ll carry over from Thanksgiving to Christmas will be the tequila. We’ll need it to make the Margaritas that will add the finishing touch to the Mexican spread we will serve.

Come to think of it, my red serape will look great as a tablecloth . . .

Ripples

As the days go by and my birthday approaches, I can’t help but think of what my life has been. The ripples my almost six decades on this earth have produced. I find it hard to believe I have been alive this long. And yet it seems like such a short time has passed. I don’t feel it. If I don’t feel old does that mean I’m not?

Some days I do feel ancient, but it only means I need more rest, more sleep. Like today, I feel very sloth-like. But, I was up till 3 am. Just wasn’t sleepy, I busied myself with my crochet project. One of them anyway. And today it’s done; that blue and white blanket will soon be making its way to California, to cause another ripple in the fabric of time. My time. And the time of my loved ones.

I have much to be thankful for in this life, many blessings. My children and now my granddaughters. Ripples that extend way into the future. The future that one day will not include me. And yet it will, because I will live on in them.

My lovely Carmen

My lovely Carmen

And my beautiful Alyssa

And my beautiful Alyssa

Longevity

My hair is too long, my nails are too long and I think maybe my teeth are too long. Well not so much my teeth, but is that not what they say when you are getting old? That you’re getting a bit long in the tooth?

I will do something about my hair in a couple of weeks. I don’t know how or when it decided to get so long. I had no intention of letting it grow to such lengths. Seems it snuck up on me. It could be that the feel and weight of it against my back and neck hypnotized me into feeling like yester-me.

My nails I will take care of tonight. For some reason, I find it soothing to care for them, to shape them and apply color. Maybe it’s because that makes my hands appear more like they used to. Seems time has left its mark upon them and now RA is working on leaving a trail as well. This week brought the news that I have an enchondroma on my right index finger, a benign tumor that forms in the cartilage that lines the inside of the bones. My rheumatologist said he was leaving himself a note to speak with the radiologist who read my hand x-rays. Won’t that be a thrilling conversation.

And as to getting old, this morning I realized with a start what today was. The first of December. The first day of my birthday month. I will be turning a number that I can’t truly get my head around. For one thing, I don’t feel that old, for another, how is it possible I am coming up on six long decades?

59 doesn’t seem so old, but 60? And yet, I feel 40-something. I feel younger than I have in over a decade. A dichotomy perhaps, between the calendar and my body. It was really my brain that started to feel younger first. And then my body followed suit. I became more active physically, and spent time doing the things that brought me joy, peace. And what resulted was that my odometer started rolling backwards, metaphorically speaking. Time gave me the gift of time.

So in recognition of this upcoming birthday, I decided to try something. To post every day for this birthday month. And right when I thought it would be a good idea to try it, the image of Yoda popped into my head. Telling Luke (paraphrasing): “There is no try, there’s only do.” He goes on to tell Luke other things, like we must unlearn what we have learned.

Yoda’s words were few and maybe not in the correct syntax, but he was always so profound. His words ring true to me now. I must not try, only do. I must unlearn the pain that I have known and accept the gift of time that has been given me, up to now and yet to be.

Loving and Living

And so I’m here. Here in this unfamiliar, yet familiar, environment. With my son, his wife and his newborn daughter. I am Grandma once again, or as I am now known “Abuela.” It’s a term I used to shy away from. For years I bragged about not having grandchildren; I would cross my fingers and say, not yet, not yet. Though I had children old enough to be parents, I felt I wasn’t old enough to be a grandparent.

But now I am. Twice over. And strangely, I feel young, and growing younger every day. Could it be seeing new life takes you back in time? Or is it that you feel the need to live longer to provide this new being with the love they need to grow and develop?

I don’t really know as I have no personal frame of reference as to the benefits of grandmothering or even grandfathering. All I ever knew about grandfathering was in relation to a professional process. If the rules changed midstream and you were already in the water swimming, then they didn’t apply to you. You were grandfathered in.

Yes, my parents obviously had parents, but I didn’t get to know them. My mother lost her father when she was seven.  The only other fact I know of him is his name. Her mother died before I was school age. I have only one memory of her. Wizened and stooped, she slowly makes her way down my aunt’s living room, touching the wall as she goes, for she is blind by then.  Her glistening white hair a halo around her head, she seems only as tall as I am. That reel plays in my head at odd moments.

My father lost his mother before I was born; he would go on to name his youngest daughter after her. Knowing my baby sister bore her name made this lost grandmother alive in some recess of my mind. His father turned out to be my only grandparent with longevity. And though he lived to be 97 years old, he never had a minute for me or my siblings. For him, we did not exist.

I think of him sometimes; I see him as I often saw him, walking tall and proud down the street past our house. With nary a glance our way. I want to be like him, have strived to be like him in that way, carrying myself tall and proud. Or as tall as my height will allow me. But, there are two characteristics of him I don’t want, his aloofness and his longevity.

I don’t want to live to be 97 years old. Yet, I want to be here for my granddaughters and perhaps my future grandsons. I want time enough to break the cycle, start a new tradition for my line of the family. A tradition of loving and living grandparents.

I will have to find a happy medium to reach that goal. Perhaps by making every minute count, every caress matter, every word spoken be loving. Or maybe if I solely concentrate on the moment at hand, and how proud and tall I walk when I think of my children and grandchildren. For they are my sustenance. They are and always will be my yesterday, my today and my tomorrow.

Leaving On a Jet Plane

It’s a free, floaty feeling to loosen the ties that bind, even for a little bit. For no matter how lovingly they encircle you, they still keep you in place, grounded.  And though that does provide comfort and a sense of security, I look forward to breaking free, taking a hiatus, leaving the daily grind behind, for just a little while.

What makes this voyage that I’m about to embark on seem even more buoyant is that I literally don’t know when I’ll be back again.  My trip has no expiration date. And that’s OK. Like Scarlett O’Hara, I will think about that tomorrow.

When I’m lifted up into that clear blue yonder, I will be suspended between the bookends of my life here and my life elsewhere. I will be alone, alone surrounded by strangers. All of us traveling inside our own cocoon of solitude, for truly that is how we traverse this life, accompanied yet alone.

I am not so much moving away from one point as I am progressing toward another. I am going to, not going from. I fly to welcome an angel that has landed on this earth. A little soul who is a bridge between the life I live now and the life I tried to live then.

As much as I loved back then, I was unable to give my son, her father, what I most wanted to. A home with his own mother and father.  The love I feel for him is forever framed by the guilt I carry. A guilt that is somewhat assuaged by the fact that though we divorced each other, we did not divorce him. I know both his father and I love him dearly, our firstborn.

Yet now is not the time to dwell on that particular arc of our family history. My son has given me a gift that will take me even further back in time, a granddaughter who carries my mother’s name.  There is no doubt this new baby’s life will be one of privilege my mother could not even begin to imagine. A child sent out into the world at the age of seven to earn her keep would have no reference of what it meant to have a stable, secure life with two loving parents.

But, this Carmen will. And when I finally hold her great-granddaughter in my arms, I know my mother will smile down at me from the heavens I’d just been so close to.