Thursday, May 16, 2013

Memory Lane

As I skipped up the steps to my grandmother's house, I felt like I was 10 years old and carefree again.

Her house looks the same as it did in 1988 (no joke), but instead of looking through the critical eyes of a 30-something wanna-be decorator, I saw it through the eyes of yesterday, when I was young and didn't know the difference between marble and granite counter-tops. When all I wanted to do was spend time with my beloved grandma and granddaddy, getting dirty in the garden, feeding the horses, washing up for dinner and watching Wonder Woman on TV.

When she answered the door, she hugged me with those hugs that only your grandma can give--good, solid, I-don't-care-if-you-just-worked-out-and-you-smell-really-bad hugs. She's not worried about what I drive, what I'm wearing, how much make-up I have on, who my friends are, or what activities my kids are involved in. She's just happy I'm there to visit.

This is actually not me--it's my sister with my grandma--but I love this picture!

As we walked to sit down, her body showed all the signs of a well-lived life--sagging skin, gray hair, wrinkles, a slow shuffle to her step. But as we chatted, her mind danced down memory lane, flitting from story to story about her job as a nurse and about my granddaddy. He was an extraordinary man, she said as her mind landed on a memory that only she was privy to, a faraway look in her eyes. He loved you so much. They don't make many Clints anymore.

As I got up to go--after all, I have bathrooms to clean, kids to taxi, phone calls to make--it struck me again, as it always does after a visit with her, that my time is what I make of it. I spend much of it in a hurried, anxious, got-to-get-it-done-now state. It's good to slow down and remember to focus on the people in my life, because when it comes to the end of the day, they are where my heart is.

When my last breath is drawn, I don't want the people who were close to me to only remember how I really, really, really, really wanted to paint the living room, or how I was a diligent devotee to the color-coded closet. What I would love for people to say about me is this: She was an extraordinary woman. She loved her family so much. They don't make many like her anymore.

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