Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Come here, and let me rock you

At my uncle's wake, Mrs. Potter reached out to touch a photograph of my grandmother. I saw her do it, waiting as I was among the dim light and flower arrangements for my turn to see the collection. My mother saw it too, and we looked away from one another, swallowing against the tightening of our throats.  The affection in that gesture was so plain to see, and so much like our own.  That's just the kind of woman Nanny was.

We really miss her.

She forever had her hand up the back of our shirts, rubbing our backs.  At the mall, she spoke to anyone nearby, and if they were cold to her she would wink at me.  She liked the challenge, she said, and usually she could bring people out.  She never let you leave her house without giving you some small treat, I never heard her criticize anyone, and she sang songs from the 1920s.  Come here and let me rock you, she said, and we would clamber into her chair with her and lay our heads.

Won't come over to my house?
Won't you come over and play?
I've lots of nice playthings, a dolly or two,
I live in a house 'cross the lane.
I'll give you candy and nice things,
I'll put your hair in a curl,
Just say you'll come over to my house,
And be my sweet little girl.

I visited her in her apartment when she was dying.  We both knew it, but we never said.  I remember I'd been to the dentist and had half my face frozen.  I felt awful, and she must have too.  She fed me tinned chicken soup, and we took a nap - me stretched out on her sofa, she in her chair.  When we woke up and it was time for me to be going, she said Come here, and let me rock you.

And I did.  I was twenty-one years old.  I didn't fit in that chair at all any more, so I perched my butt on the edge and I laid my head on her familiar shoulder.  Looking back now, I see myself as I was then - finishing a rough time in my life, just beginning to heal, just beginning to grow up, and I am grateful for the gift of her and her unwavering, unconditional love.  I'm so grateful for that last rock in her chair.

I thought of Nanny this morning as I was getting my daughter ready for preschool.  Pebbles wanted to wear a dress, and she complained about the tights quite a bit but she decided to wear them anyway.  She let me comb her hair and even put an elastic in it!  I sat on a rubbermaid stool, thinking little thoughts, just enjoying the sight of her.  How tall she's getting, even if she hasn't gained a single pound in eight or nine months.  I watched her wash her own face, and I felt so blessed.  I said, Come here and let me rock you.

* * *

At preschool I saw a plaque that said:

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was,
the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different
because I was important in the life of a child.” - Forest E. Witcraft

Yes, I thought to myself, that's exactly what I've been thinking.


Danica-Dragonfly said...

Oh My GAWD, Cin - that was brutal.

I'm freakin' balling.

After the brew ha ha that broke out between my and Stretch last night ... the only difference I'm going to make isn't going to be positive.

Great post, though.


Mrs. Mitty said...

Oh, Cindy. That was so beautiful.

Brought back fond memories of my sweet Grandma, too, and times with my daughter when she was little.

You have a gift, my dear!

Love ya,

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh, that's lovely. Grandmothers are the greatest :-)

Cindy said...

Hi Dani,

I was thinking about the stages of womanhood, and the Celtic notion that we are all stages, all our lives. I was really feeling like a very young woman, raw and vulnerable, the other day.


Cindy said...

Thanks, Mrs Mitty! I've been watching my mother with my kids, and I think they'll have the same sorts of memories, except my Mum is quite young. What a gift it is, that echo of what we were given, and what we become.

Cindy said...

Thanks, Deniz! Gransmothers are the greatest, especially when they bake!