THE ROCK DRESSED IN ANIMAL PRINT
Let me tell you about one of the great blessings of my life.
I don’t use that word “blessing” lightly. I’m not a particularly religious person, and so when I say blessing, I mean something incredibly special. I would never say “bless you” to anyone, except after they’ve sneezed, and that’s only to be polite.
The blessing I refer to is my grandmother, Amy. That’s what I’ve always called her – Amy. Legend has it that when I, her first grandchild, was born, and she was just 48, there were so many other “grands” that were still alive that she became Amy because there were no other names left – but I think it’s really because she was (and still is) such a young spirit. Last year we sat together and marveled at the fact that, at that moment, she was twice my age. How many grandmothers and granddaughters get to have that experience? I am so very lucky, grateful and yes, blessed, that at 97, she is still here, still sharp and witty and smart, still on the other end of the phone when I call her, ready to gossip or chat, just glad to hear my voice. She has always been my rock.
|Amy and me – 1962|
If I told you she was loving, and kind, and a great cook, and a wonderful seamstress, that would be true – but it would be true of a lot of grandmothers, wouldn’t it. She loves each of her 3 children, their spouses, 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren with all of her heart. What makes Amy a blessing in my life is that we are, and always have been, connected in such a deep way that there’s no real word for our relationship – maybe she’s my grandfriendconfidante? I don’t know. She has been there for every major event in my life, from my first real memory (2 years old, sitting between her and my grandfather – Paul – the night my brother was born), to the weeks after the birth of each of my children, when she came and stayed with me, cooking and fretting, sending me off for naps and answering the phone in her distinctive, singsong, “hello!!!”
She has a critical eye, but a loving heart – we dress to impress her, all of us, and stand a little taller when she tells us we look beautiful, because she is so beautiful. Her aesthetic has infused my home in so many ways – there is animal print in every room, and toile on my Bergere chairs, just as she would have chosen for herself. She was an interior designer with a love of all things French, and her house was always fascinating to me, filled with unique objects and books to be read, a beautifully lit place I still go to in my mind when I want to remember the feeling of complete happiness.
Recently, when I was feeling confused about to what to do with my life now that my kids have left the nest and my full-time mom job has ended, this is what she told me:
“Enjoy the peace. Enjoy the stillness. You’ve earned it.”
And so I have tried to do that, to be in the world as she has always been- appreciating the moment, loving those who are special, and taking it all in with so much interest. This, I believe, is what has kept her here with us for so long.
|Amy – May, 2011|
For many years when Amy would come to visit, Peter would dread the day when she would leave, because I would completely fall apart like a little girl, crying and missing her so. He would look at me, helpless to do anything, but even as I felt sad, and wished she didn’t have to leave, I knew, and still know, how blessed I am to love someone that much.