April 08, 2007

And Then There is My 96-Year-Old Grandmother.

We had drifted a bit in the past 20 years. Perhaps when I expected her to be warm and grandmotherly, she was cold and practical. And, perhaps, vice versa: when she wanted a devoted granddaughter, she was presented with the cynical thinking machine.

But something changed this time around. And I don't know why. Or maybe I do, but I don't want to dissect it quite yet. Not here. Not now.

Her mind is of course still razor-sharp, but the body has been betraying her for a few years. She's frail, and she knows that her bones are weak, so she does everything she can to avoid falling: she understands the stakes, and takes hold of anything that will help her to keep her balance. (And let us remember that our vices can be blessings. I've been addicted to milk since childhood. I tend to run the gamut from skim to 2% and back again, but I still consume plenty of dairy. If I live as long as I intend to, that might turn into a Damn Fine Thing.)

Naturally, I ask her about the years she lived in Phoenix. She tells me a little, but I don't press the issue when it becomes clear that she was miserable for the four years she lived there with her parents, from the age of 18 to 22.

She gave up crafts ten or 15 years ago, but she was an expert knitter back in middle age and her early senior years (and an expert seamstress, crocheter, weaver, and general craftswoman to boot).

I tell her I keep trying to go back to knitting. I explain that my mood swings have too strong an influence on how tight I pull the yarn, and my rows come out uneven, like a child's work. (I am exaggerating as I say this, but not by much.)

She leans forward and confides: "those mood swings come from your mother."

It wasn't said maliciously, though I doubt my mother would take kindly to the remark (and I'm very happy she doesn't read my blog). Of course it's mostly correct.

My father continues to insist that his mother once came to blows with his first wife (my own mom), several years before I was born. My mother has always denied this, but this doesn't happen to be one of the arenas in which my father makes up his own facts. It's exactly the sort of issue wherein his memory would be superior to hers.

I should have asked grandma about that today. "So, who laid on the first bitch-slap, huh?"

Well, you know: I didn't. It is Easter, after all.

Posted by Attila Girl at April 8, 2007 09:45 PM | TrackBack
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