I remember when my grandmother passed away. I was lucky to have a really young grandmother. She was 36 when I born. I was just shy of 20 when she died, a young woman, but I was lucky enough to have lived with her for the final months of her life. This gave me an immense amount of closure with her and for months knowing that she was terminal, we were able to talk about everything in her life, her kids' lives, and although she should've been bitter about a lot of cards she was dealt, she wasn't. She was a very bitchy woman to many, but to her family, she was the nucleus of what made everyone stick together.
But what made her a great mother and grandmother was the passion that she had for her family. She was very protective of her kids and grandkids. I knew this, but never as much as after she had passed away, when we were cleaning up her stuff at her house and we found her tickle trunk.
It was just like opening a time capsule to your whole life. There, she had every piece of art and drawings and stories that I had made right from kindergarten to the day that I graduated high school. And they were all nicely put away and cared for, as if they were little tiny treasures. And I guess that they were for her... What was simply pieces of paper with ink and paint on them, were now part of her collection. In going through these, I found a time line from me, the eldest grandchild right down the line to the others who were so important to her. I wished that people who didn't like my grandmother could've seen this.
I know that my grandmother had battles with her kids, but her grandkids were everything to her. And I see that now, how much grandparents have the greatest moments. How life just seems to be much more spiritual, and less of an everyday battle than it does to us parents or single people.
But I can't tell you how happy and honoured that I was that my grandmother took the time to appreciate and keep my work. I looked at one drawing that I had done in Kindergarten when we had visited the Washington DC Metro Zoo and I saw my first Giant Panda which was a gift from China to the USA. I loved that cuddly looking ball of fur. I came back to class and I drew a picture of it (badly) and then the teacher quoted my caption of what I said about the Panda.
"Here is my Panda. He is smiling because he is looking at me. I love him, and I want one of my own.- Chuckie"
Looking down at that piece of paper, I was grateful for everything my grandmother did for my family, which in turn, included me. Some of my younger cousins were too young when she died, and its sad, because they missed a beautiful woman on the inside. I missed her dearly, but never as much as I did posthumously when I found all this, which just made me feel like crawling up inside that trunk to feel closer to her.
Its funny how time goes by and you remember stuff like this randomly. All the things going on these days with the economy and the hustle and bustle of everyday life and this is the good things you remember. Talking to people on facebook, I have remembered a lot of things in the past that have been put in that tickle trunk in my head. But opening it up every once and a while makes life seem a little more manageable and certainly much more lovable.
Now, my mother has taken her mother's name and has become "Nanny" to my daughter. I can't wait to see how things happen just like this in the next 20 years. I started a Journal for Kennedy, starting from the day when we first found out she was going to be a girl. I had started that journal talking to a child that hadn't existed yet in our lives, and without a sex; without a name. When I came home after finding out the sex of our baby, I could write her name in the book and say hello for the first time. Its been almost a year since I started telling her about her story and I can't wait to give it to her on her 16th birthday. With all the things a tickle trunk should have in it.
So thanks Nanny, for loving us, and teaching us how to love so dearly...