Thursday, May 29, 2014

Talking and Listening Long by Andrea

My Granny Sis



I remember the day I first realized that my grandmother was “old”.  She was turning 60 as I was going on 10.  Being old meant she could die.  Dying meant we would not be together as we had been every day of my life it seemed. I worked myself into a frenzy of fears and tears as I contemplated this truth.  I cried so much my eyes were raw.  Just a hazy, incomplete thought of her leaving me could send me over the edge- well into adulthood.  It was that day, I’m sure, that I began to pray that God would be gracious enough to allow me to die before her.  I envisioned us having many, many years together, but that I would never have to live without her. I was completely unable to imagine a life without her unconditional love, devotion and friendship.  Only now, can the realizations that she is getting older and as she says, “her time on this earth may not be long more” come to me without me being filled despair and dread. 

My grandmother has been one of my very best friends for my entire life.  As a child, I lived to spend my days with her: raking the yard, pulling weeds from her flowerbeds, going fishing, tying the strings on her rag quilts, roasting sweet potatoes and shucking corn. In all those times, I talked and she listened.  I talked about the important things of my little life, my wonderings, and my dreams.  She talked and I listened. I knew stories of her childhood and life as though they were my own.

Even as a boy-crazy, freedom- chasing, know-it-all teenager, I loved getting to spend nights at my grandparents’ house while my mother worked.  We would stay up late and watch her shows, eating sweets and shelling peas or beans.  I talked and she listened.  She talked and I listened.  At a time in life when there can be distance and secrets, I knew her and she knew me.

I went a way to college, but I called her all the time- to get my fill of her colloquialisms and the neighborhood happenings.  I talked and she listened.  She talked and I listened. She knew how to wait to hear not only my highs, but also my lows. I knew she would always have time and wise, guiding words for me.

As a young wife and mother, I would drop my son off at school, drive the two hours to my hometown just to spend a couple of hours with her before heading back to pick up my son at the end of school day.  I would talk and she would listen.  She would talk and I would listen.  She seemed to always know what I needed and she freely gave.  What she knew, I knew.

Always joyful and laughing!
Up to this day, when I go back home for a visit, I go to my granny’s house first.  When I make my weekly calls, I call her first.  My mother does not feel shunned or slighted.  She is a grandmother.  She gets the devotion and the connection. 
Here's my granny sleeping at my house in TX.

My granny is old now but still vibrant and full of life.  She is in good health and sound mind. When I phone her, she talks and I listen.  I talk and she listens. I can only visit two or three times a year since moving over 1300 miles away. The absolute highlight of my life happened last year when, at almost a century old, my grandmother got onto an airplane for the FIRST.TIME.EVER to surprise me with a visit.  In my home, in Texas, my granny talked and I listened.  I talked and she listened.  As we have done my whole life. 

There is not one day that goes by that I do not pray for, speak of or quote my grandmother.  Our connection has been built over a lifetime, with many words, fierce love and treasured devotion.  It does not matter which of us gets to go to heaven first.  I just hope that there will be a place for us to talk and listen long.

3 comments:

  1. Great story. Almost all memories of my Italian grandmother took place in her kitchen. Most amazing food ever!! I wish I would have learned more from her before Alzheimers took over.

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  2. Andrea...that was my comment. Couldn't figure out how to navigate other than leaving it as anonymous. Thanks you for sharing your story.

    Barbara

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  3. Angela White CrawfordSeptember 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Beautiful I smiled and cried as I read this, it took me back to that dirt road in Bonneau so much fond memories....................thanks so much for writing this..........................................

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