I’m a new grandmother. And it’s a little weird.
Not bad, actually it feels great, but a little weird.
I still miss my grandmothers. Fiercely some days. They were a huge and important part of my life.
My grandmothers were as different as night and day. One a prim, proper old-school housewife, like June Cleaver she wore a dress nearly every day. Her week was organized by tasks, Mondays were laundry, Tuesday always meant ironing –with the radio on in the kitchen. She loved her “stories” and when I stayed the night she would make real chocolate malts and at breakfast there was always coffee with cream (pre-café au lait) and a platter with scrambled eggs, fried eggs and poached eggs, the choice was mine.
My other grandmother didn’t bake or cook much, dinner at her house, when I would stay over, was often hot dogs rolled in crescent rolls. But every Thanksgiving she would make a “tourtiere” – a French meat pie that was as light as a cloud and perfectly delicious. She loved a good highball, 7/7 with a maraschino cherry. She taught me how to play cards, particularly poker, she was a walking book of Hoyle.
One grandma planted roses and flowers that always bloomed, the other cherished a lilac bush in her backyard. One gave me advice on being a gentle woman, the other advised me to be strong. Both lived on the same street, at opposite ends of the block and within bike-riding distance during my growing years.
These memories make me happy and a little sad. Partly because I haven’t even held my darling new granddaughter yet. She’s many miles away in the sunny land of California and my work doesn’t allow for me to leave just yet.
Thanks to technology, Facetime brings us together every day. My screen is a filthy mess because I’m constantly trying to touch her face.
It’s going to be very hard to be a distant grandmother, but I know many of you are distant grandparents and manage to make it work. I have already begun a grand relationship with Amazon and I will surely journal my thoughts to share with her when she gets older.
When retirement finally comes my way, I imagine things will be less complicated. Popping on a plane for a visit without having to schedule around work will be easier.
I had the best of both worlds with two grandmothers that meant the world to me. As a result, I make awesome peanut butter cookies and a mean highball. It’s hard to think of myself as a grandmother and I wonder what skills I’ll pass along, what advice will I give that might last a lifetime?
When I’m gone will she miss me as fiercely as I miss my grandmothers? Will I give her memories and advice that years later will cause her to smile the same way I do when I plant a flower or win at a game of Black-jack? I wonder.