Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Best Christmas Gift

We found Grandma in the dining room and wheeled her back, a little, from the others. So many others. One woman--and seems like every adult home has one--spoke and laughed in a strange voice, manlier than a man's. Another spoke on auto-repeat. A third joined us back under the Christmas tree and stood over us, swaying. She nodded toward Grandma and said: "She's not an individual, yet," also something about its being a long Friday. It was Tuesday, but she never stopped smiling. I could've talked to her all day.

Grandma didn't know us, and when I told her I was Sherry's daughter, it didn't seem to register. She was happy to see us, though, and hold the baby; I could hardly wait to lie him in her arms. "How... How... How...," she said, and I knew the question for which she was grasping but forced myself to wait her out. Finally, she asked: "What's the age of the child?"

"Five weeks," I told her.

"He's really cute," she said. "I had them. Boys and girls." Later, in her room, she looked at Clementine and said: "Pretty hair. I used to have hair like that." And she did; I've seen pictures of her long curls. Those were the only two things she said, while we were together, that proved she remembered something of who she used to be.

When I hugged and kissed her goodbye, I wondered if it were for the last time, and it might've hurt me. Except I'd wondered the same thing so many times before and, suddenly, all I could see was an opened gift: how she's 94, and I'm 38, and how--even if she doesn't remember it--we've had so much time. How she's held and loved, now, all of my babies.

"Goodbye, Grandma B.," my two-year-old volunteered. "I love you, Grandma B."

And Grandma smiled and said to the wee, red-headed stranger: "I love you, too."  


**A special thank you to my friend Sharon Pleasants, who, with all the love in her heart, gave me two (more) days of her life. I couldn't have made the trip without her. Thanks, also, to Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Carolyn, who welcomed my crazy tribe in and gave us beds...and pancakes.


  1. I love how you love your grandma, it warms my heart. I remember the very first post I read of yours when you went and slipped yourself into her bed, it touched me down to my bone and every time you talk of her it brings tears of remembering my own in this so familiar way. You, my dear are a very special grand daughter who loves her grandma well.

  2. precious! can he be that big already??

  3. hi brandee,

    i appreciate your words and love you're perspective here. a good reminder of real love.

    you'd visited my site and commented. thank you for that. and i wanted to say that you were taught well and that i hope you'll read my follow up post to the one you'd read - thanks, zena

  4. hugs....its hard...i am glad you have had that time...and i hope that next year you are wondering the same but if not then let those memories keep you warm....merry christmas to you and your family!

  5. This one made me teary, Brandee...missing my grandma too. It's been a long time, but I always try to imagine what it would be like if she met my girls.

    And five weeks already? Whew.

    Merry Christmas, friend. I appreciate your words and voice in the blogosphere.

  6. Such a lovely post. The solemn goodness, I can feel it. And the splendid juxtaposition of Clementine standing there with her wild red hair and silvery tennis shoes, why, I'm going to be smiling about it all day. A gift, the whole visit.

    And Merry Christmas to you and your crew! We are all sending you love from many states away.


  7. Happy New Year, Brandee. You have such a sweet and blessed family. Wishing so many sweet moments for you and those you love.