I called my grandmother this morning for the first time since getting engaged. She lives in Rome and I am terrible about calling her on the regular. So she was understandably the tiniest bit clippy when I said “Yes, I’m getting married!” and she replied “I know! Your mother told me.”
She’s well, everyone else in her family is sick. It’s depressing albeit reality, and I called a friend to ask what I could do to be of service to her, since she doesn’t need cash and really, that isn’t the point anyway. If she were in desperate material need, we would have seen to it she got help ages ago. And when my grandfather died, indeed my mother did just that. Today, it’s about finding some way to make her life a little sweeter and more joyful while she’s surrounded by (not to sound too dramatic here) portents of death.
The answer? Oh the toughest questions always have the simplest answers – share my life with her. Reach out to her more regularly, tell her what I am going through, send care packages – not of money, but with photos and things I’ve made and anything that conveys that she is a part of our family, and while there are many endings, we are full of beginnings too.
This is an important lesson in service, because I will get nothing material out of doing this, and it requires time and energy and repetition, so I cannot do it once and then pat myself on the back. Nor can I expect that she will call me or write to say thank you, since communication for her is harder than it is for me. The point is finally do something for her that is all about her, and has no trace in it of what she can do for me. Embarassingly, though honestly, that is a new thing.
La Tartine Gourmande fittingly had a recipe up this morning for stuffed zucchini, one of my favorite dishes she used to make. One way I’ve been honoring my grandmother is to cook for Jonathan and I more, to cook simple, thoughtful meals with fresh, healthy ingredients, just like she did. (Gazpacho and grilled cheese sandwiches with Gruyere this weekend – YUM.) For his birthday tomorrow I used the skills she taught me in her sewing room to make part of his gift. She is living through me and affected my life in ways she may not know or understand, and as I write this I realize that showing her that may just be the best way to say thank you.
Obviously, no Etsy updates this weekend. We took the time to do a HUGE unloading of the attic through, I hope the garbage collectors who come this morning are patient and willing! It was such a relief to get a good portion of the house emptied, and I am just trying not to think about the rest of it for now.
Visiting Mary V. at the Franklin Mill Store this evening. Excited to see her, trying to just keep my head on-task for the day until I get to leave and zip down there, followed by hopefully a nice dinner with mum and bro. Clearly if I am already thinking about dinner, “keeping it in the day” will be challenging today, but I am up to the challenge.