My boy’s grandmother passed before I met their father. We sometimes wonder what our lives would be like if she were here, living and knowing her grandsons. Her eldest grandson, the one who’s been called autistic, who bucks that status quo every day, and her youngest – the most dignified wise-ass you will ever meet.
I hear stories about her and what life was like before, with her in this world. The wonderful story that involves a woman living with a cancer diagnosis for 17 years longer than predicted, and her sense of fun and humor that sustained their days and extended her life.
I can only imagine how wonderful it would be if she were here, sharing in our belief that this life is a good life, regardless of our supposed “challenges”. She would likely remind us, with our without words, that every day is a good day when you wake up, open your eyes to see the morning, get out of bed with legs that stand and allow you to walk downstairs to greet your family. Your family, the same people you see every day that cares about you and your welfare.
She would have to laugh out loud at her sons antics with her grandsons – like today…. our oldest son chooses not to answer the phone when my husband called to check up on him. So, when he finally got through to our autistic son who stayed home from school, he disciplined him for the indiscretion. It wasn’t too much later our son called my husband back on his cell phone. Yeah, sounds like the eldest decided to call his dad out for his own lack of phone manners and rudeness that laced his worried voice. His father’s poor behavior cost him hamburgers and a vanilla shake for dinner. I don’t think grandma would take this exchange for granted knowing how far that grandson has come to make that call.
Our two little white dogs would have tickled her funny bone. They are her son’s girls, mark my words. If she could watch him carry them around in his arms, just like he did our boys when they were babies, cradled and safe from harm. She too had a little poodle dog, named Snoop. My husband laments that dog to this day for being so crabby with everyone but his mother.
My late mother in law was a kindergarten teacher. Her son followed in her footsteps and has carved a career out of teaching elementary aged kids their ABC’s and 123’s. Sometimes I meet past colleagues and students of hers while working in a local teacher’s credit union. When I ask if they knew her I am always told how radiant of a person she was and how deeply missed she has been. Just last week, an old friend of the family shared the story of her “jelly buddy” that popped out of her swim suit top while they were having drinks in the hot tub. Always, I’m told, she armored up with humor regardless of how she felt.
I know she would be as proud of her youngest grandson as we are for wanting to follow in his families’ footsteps and be the next generation to work as a professional educator. He’s working to be a history professor, and we believe he will be one of the very best. His sharp wit and improve style of humor adds that certain something to every conversation. I hope she wouldn’t be too worried that he has had to grow up so fast and seems unnaturally responsible for his age. We know he’s got his wild streak….he is just clever enough to wear his invisibility cloak at the right times, in all the right places.
While my husband misses her, sometimes intensely, my kids and I miss the idea of her. I don’t think she’s too far away – I believe she’s right here, with us. She sits with us at the dinner table, laughs at her son’s quick witted jokes, watches her grandchildren grow and prepare for their future endeavors, and finally – she believes, just like we do, that life is a gift worth living. ~ Wendy Frye
“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.” ~ Josh Billings