“I wish I could talk to NuNu, to tell her what’s going on in my life.”
He said it completely out of the blue the other day.
Me too, buddy. Me too.
Tuesday would be her 96th birthday.
Then I told him how proud she would be of him, how I know she’s proud of him, wherever she is. How she would kvell about him going to middle school next year, being in Honor Band, playing soccer and basketball, being so so kind to some friends who really needed it, and doing the STEM/Science Fair and the Best Book Club this year. How she would say OF COURSE those girls like him, and who wouldn’t? And she’d be all over my case because he doesn’t know how to code yet, and would I get him interested in computers already, because that’s the future, you know. And she’d send me some articles she found about how they can’t fill the STEM jobs around here.
I told him how lucky he was to remember her, and how amazing it is to have someone like a Grandma in your life, someone who thinks you are the greatest thing ever, and everyone else IS A FOOL if they don’t see it. That unconditional love without the constraints of the everyday pressure of daily life and actually raising you is something special.
And then after he went back to his book or his game, I thought about how she’d be so thrilled Audrey was trying out for a play, although she’d have to comment about why was she only a “villager” and not the lead character?? She’d love how Audrey keeps the whole darn family in check. She would sit and play school with Audrey, babysit her pretend class of kindergarteners or babies, (but she would definitely declare loudly that she hopes she’s not ACTUALLY a teacher someday because there’s no money in that), exclaim over her lost teeth and her great reading and ask her all about 3rd grade. She’d be so proud that she’s mostly avoided drama with friends so far, and that she’s learning to play tennis. She would love to hear how she helps Pat clean and organize things, and say “Thank God she won’t be messy like her grandmother and her mother.” She would laugh her gravelly laugh at Audrey’s funny sense of humor, her zinger sarcastic jokes, her love of dramatic play, and mostly her spunk! I’m sure she’d tell me every day how much she is “exactly like her mama was at that age,” and how it was a good thing we finally cut her bangs again, because that hair was just hanging in her face.
But the fact that I almost forgot her birthday was coming made me sad. I’ve heard about people worrying they will forget what someone’s voice sounds like, or what they smelled like, or how their hands felt or how their eyes crinkled up when they laughed. I am so fortunate to have so many pictures and videos but I’m still forgetting things.
Almost two years later, I still can’t bring myself to clear the picture out of my camera, or off the background screen on the ipad, and she makes regular appearances in our slideshow screen savers. It keeps her fresh in our minds, reminds us that she’s watching and would be so, so proud.
Happy 96th, NuNu. We all wish we could talk to you and tell you what’s going on in our lives. All that unsolicited advice we laughed about all those years? We miss it. And we’ll try to do better with the pictures.