Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Glimpses of Grandma

Hanging in there

In an ongoing effort to clean out, organize, and clean up our apartment, I dropped several donations off at various places today.  I started by dropping a load of things off at Goodwill.  I’ve made a number of trips over there and hope to make many more in the days and weeks to come.  It helps me to sort through things and part with them knowing that something I haven’t touched in months might be exactly what someone else is looking for and would use daily. 
After all, in some ways, I’m definitely my grandma’s girl.  She rarely tossed stuff out if it could be recycled or reused by her or by someone else.  I am absolutely certain she’s quite tickled that Kevin and I currently have hanging in our bathroom a turquoise (her favorite color) shower curtain that my grandma must have had for 30 some years.  When I found it and realized it had never been used and was still in its original box from a department store that went out of business awhile ago, I couldn’t bring myself to toss it, knowing my grandma would have wanted someone to use it. 


I swung by the Pastoral Center to see my mom and gave her back a couple of the framed pieces of handmade artwork I’d done for her years ago.  I have a number of things back in my possession that I originally made, wrote, and gifted to different family members over the years.  I’m not sure how many of the items would ultimately have been trashed or donated when my sister and her husband bought a house, when my dad passed away, my youngest sister went off to college, my mom moved out of her house into an apartment, then my grandma passed away, but it was easier for me to box these things up and bring them to our place rather than wonder and worry if something I’d spent so much time and energy on would just end up in the garbage.
I’m not sure if it’s out of plain old nostalgia, sadness, regret, or hope that I hold onto gifts from me that were left behind.  I don’t know what would have become of the letters I wrote and gifts I made for my mom, dad, sisters, and/or grandparents.  My mom assures me that many of the things I’d made for her over the years she’d had no intention of getting rid of when she moved into her apartment.  I believe her, so when I unearth such things again, I offer them to her. 

Life-long Learning

I swung by school with a bag of assorted books and arts and craft supplies well before the insanity of after-school carpool began.  I always end up using a vast hodgepodge of materials from home and from school when I teach summer camps there, so some of the things I came across I figured they would make use of at school before I’d do something with them at home.  Others were books and things that had gotten grouped in with the children’s books I have, ones my mom kept from when we were little, in addition to some French ones and favorites I’ve added so I can share them with the kids at school and when I nanny.  I got a few minutes to catch up with the program director, who’s been a good friend and supervisor for the five years since we both started working there.  Even though I came in during the post-rest story-time, I still got a couple of spontaneous hugs from kids who remembered me.      

Good Food, Nice Weather, Many Thanks

Next, I stopped by Cook-Out for a grilled chicken sandwich, fries, and a Heath Toffee milkshake too thick to drink through a straw—good thing they included a spoon.  I drove to Little Sisters of the Poor, a stop I wasn’t really looking forward to, as I hadn’t been back there since going to collect my grandmother’s things after she passed this January.  It went fine, though. 

I sat in my car and ate my lunch, remembering one beautiful day when I’d picked up a chocolate shake and fries from Cook-Out to share with my grandma.  I’d brought her outside in her wheelchair over by the swing in front of the entrance walkway to the building and angled her so she could see the garden while we visited.  I’d gotten an extra cup so I could give her some of the milkshake, which I deftly spilled spots of on the swing and my pants.  (Getting spots on clothing while eating is another trait I picked up from my grandma, truth be told.)    
This afternoon, while eating, I thought about what my grandma would say on a day like today if she were sitting out there with me.  She’d make mention of the lovely garden and the beautiful colors all around.  She’d comment on the trees, the landscaping, and the gentle breeze.  She’d be grateful for a visitor, for time outside, for fun foods she can’t remember having tasted before…
When I finished eating, I took in the body lotions, a wide assortment of handmade jewelry, plastic organizers, and a large supply of beads to make more jewelry.  I left them with the receptionist, who I am certain recognized me.
I still have a number of things from my grandma’s, mom's, and my dad’s I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with, yet.  They’re here with lots of memories I haven’t sorted through, but I’ll get around to them sometime, possibly soon.

Thank You, God, for a beautiful day, for the opportunity to share with others, to remember loved ones lost, to be thankful for little pleasures, and be reminded of the many ways that You are able to use what others cast aside to create a masterpiece of each of our lives.  Amen.            

Note: This post is linked to New Evangelist Blog's June Issue of Catholic Bloggers Best Posts from the month of May.
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