Archive for Grandparents

Goodbye, Granny

My grandmother passed away today and I will miss her dearly.

My sadness is less for her passing–she was very ill and very uncomfortable towards the end–and more for the isolation she felt in her last years of life.

I have many lovely memories of my grandmother.

I remember the chocolate chip cookies. She would do all the mixing by hand and pack each batch in foil-lined shoebox, securing the top with a rubber band. I think I spent a good part of my childhood anticipating the next batch of those delicious cookies.

I remember the card games. We would pass the time playing gin rummy and casino.

I remember the buttons. She had this magical box of buttons–small opalescent buttons, massive brass buttons, soft, cloth-covered buttons, plain buttons, colorful buttons, every shape, size, style and hue imaginable. Each time I would visit I could shift and sort this treasure trove of buttons and select a few to bring home. Part of the wonder of the box of buttons was that, no matter how many times I visited, it always seemed to be full to the brim.

I remember her pleasure in displaying the little gifts we made for her. She always kept a clothespin doll my cousin had designed and a little paper doll swing I fashioned. In the way only a grandparent could, she delighted in our efforts, proclaiming each an early sign of “genius”.

I remember walks down Austin street near her apartment in Queens. We would visit the old Woolworth’s and I would be embroidery floss for friendship bracelets or stop in at the New Age shop where I would ogle crystals and books about fairies.

I remember her as I did not know her. Stories of a difficult childhood, a figure so beautiful that she modeled clothes for a local merchant, and a voice so lovely that she won competitions.

When my mom was just sixteen, my grandfather died of a sudden heart attack. My Granny spent most of the rest of her life living alone.

In the last two years, she did not want to see anyone other than my mother or my uncle. Or, rather, she did not want us to see her. We’d talk about visiting, plan a visit, and then she’d call my mother and insist we cancel. My three year-old daughter, who had played with her great-grandmother when she was one, primarily knew her as a voice on the phone. I thought about forcing the issue and just showing up unannounced. But it was very difficult on my mother and I did not want to make it any harder.

At the very end, after Granny moved in with my mom for what would be her final months, she wanted us to visit.

We saw her last month and I nearly cried when she smiled and laughed at the energy of my toddling son, her great-grandson, who she had seen just that once.

Today, my mother called and described for me my Granny’s very peaceful passing. I was fine until the moment when my mom explained how she told Granny that there were people who loved her waiting for her.

And my mom smiled. And my Granny tried to smile.

And when I heard that, I cried.

I am glad my Granny found peace. I just hope she found company. I love you, Granny.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day was tons of fun–especially for Diva the Kid (hopefully the Dads had fun, too). The weekend kicked off with a trip to the strawberry festival and strawberries are her favorites, second only to blueberries. She even got to have the rare treat of some yummy ice cream.

At the festival, she picked out a beautiful mirror imported from Bali for her room. And yes, she actually picked out the mirror and was quite insistent that was the one. The frame is a sun and crescent moon with a design on its face that looks like a tribal tattoo.

The grand finale was a spin in front of a bubble maker they had set up at the stage. She got a real kick out of that one.

On Sunday, she hosted all of her grandparents, her great grandfather, one of her great grandmothers, her great uncle, and two of her second cousins (ages 5 and 7) for a Barbecue. She just ate up all the attention (and the food). Watching her play with the family, especially the “big kids,” reminds me why we moved back to New York!

On the cards for her Daddy and her Grandfathers, she drew original crayon artwork.

Even though it was Father’s Day, I couldn’t stop my dad from getting her a present. Her Papa heard about her fun with the bubble maker and brought one for the kids to enjoy. I got some great shots of her crowned with a wreath of bubbles.

Of course, the real highlight was having Daddy’s undivided attention for the weekend. When he’s talking to her, it is like the rest of the world just fades away. She stares at him with such rapt attention and wonder and it makes me fall in love all over again, too.

Pregnancy Week 7: Parents Don’t Get Sick Days

Following our fun announcement to the grandparents and a lovely Christmas, I came down a nasty, nasty cold that developed into a sinus infection.

During this sickness I learned a few things:

1. Parents of small children don’t get sick days.

I already knew this, but being sick, with a toddler, and pregnant really drove this home. Fortunately, we were staying at my in-laws and my mother in law is a teach who was still on vacation. Because there was a period of about 24 hours during which I could not function.

2. You should always have a family doctor.

We were still in the process of a move and so I had neither ObGyn nor family practitioner. You try getting a walk-in appointment on New Year’s Eve Day, an hour and a half from where you are staying, when you don’t even have a primary care physician.

3. I cannot rely on my memory from the last pregnancy.

I took Advil, which turns out to be a no-no. Fortunately, it looks like it is mainly an issue in the third trimester. Still, it is not recommended for pregnant women unless they are advised to use it by a doctor. I would not have made this mistake last time around. Last time around I would have checked, Dr. Sears, the Internet, and the nurse’s line. Of course, it didn’t help that I still hadn’t found an ObGyn at that point.

4. I should NEVER put my rings in my jeans’ pocket.

Especially when I’m running a fever. Apparently I placed my wedding band and my engagement ring in my pocket while sick and then rolled up the jeans. My husband brought me my jeans and unfolded them as he handed them to me and I saw my band fall to the ground.

Thus commenced the 12 hour search for the engagement ring. The engagement ring my one true love gave to me. The engagement ring that belonged to his great grandmother. Yeah. Uh-huh.

My husband was pretty sure that the ring MUST be in the house because I had rolled my jeans up in order to protect the rings–which would indicate that I took the rings off right before undressing to go rest.

I was worried that in my fever-addled state, I had been uncomfortable with the rings on and placed them in my pocket at the doctor’s office. The pocket out of which I was fishing tissues all day. Tissues which were periodically emptied into various garbage cans, including those at the doctor’s office.

Fortunately we located the ring on a towel in the room where we were staying, but not before my superhero husband fished through his family’s garbage cans. Yeah, he deserves some sort of medal for that.

I’m in Week Fifteen right now, playing catch-up with my online friends. Check out:

Nobody Loves Ya Like Mama Loves Ya

I read this heartfelt post and I was so touched by its honesty and its truth.

Since finding out I was pregnant with Baby Diva, I have become so much closer to my mom.

Mom and I always had a great relationship but I was an out of control pig-headed obtuse strong-willed and independent teenager. We’d have exactly the sort of knock down, drag out (verbally speaking) fights that GGC describes…followed by the same sort of secret-sharing sessions.

Then I went away to college and obviously knew everything. I recall one instance when my poor mom kept calling me only to have my roomates finally confess that I was out of town for the weekend. I wasn’t doing anything wrong; my comedy group was just performing at another college five hours away. I had simply forgotten to tell her.

Now, I call her when Baby Diva giggles especially loud or learns a new game–so just about every day.

It isn’t just that I value and need her wisdom. In some ways we are too similar, but when it comes to motherhood, we have already had very different experiences. Being a mother has just made me appreciate her and all that she is as a mother in a very new, and very emotional and spiritual way.

Sometimes I think back on what I put my mother through and feel terribly guilty…and then I think about Baby Diva and I shudder to think what Karma has in store for me. Either way, I know my mama will be there for me.

Bulldog, Bulldog, Bow Wow Wow

A student group invited Super Dad to speak about his military experience at our alma mater, so all three of us got to travel to New Haven and Baby Diva got her first taste of Yale. Despite a hellacious flight into New York (delays, delays, delays–thank goodness I am breastfeeding and have a baby wrap), Baby Diva was an absolute doll.

We took her out to fancy restaurants, during which time Baby Diva alternated dancing for her adoring public and napping. Baby Diva loved all of the attention and staying up to play cards with her grandparents (she was on my team for Hearts).

Granny and Papa live nearby in suburban New York so they came up for the afternoon. Grandma and Grandpa (Super Dad’s ‘rents) live near the airport so we ended our journey with a visit there.

Baby Diva is becoming quite the traveler!!!