I was having lunch with my good friend Myra the other day. All we could talk about was the upcoming birth of her first grandchild. We were both so thrilled, but the conversation came to a dead halt when I said, “You must be so excited to finally soon have someone call you grandma”.
Silence. Myra looked down and then straight at me.
“They are going to call me Myra”.
I laughed. “Seriously, Myra.”
“No, seriously. Do I look like someone’s grandma”?
I had to admit that at seventy-one, Myra, a marathon runner, had the lean firm body of a twenty something and, with her latest facelift, a boat load of injectables, and her long, honey colored hair, lovingly created and cared for by an army of beauticians, grandma was not the first thing that sprang to mind.
“What does your daughter think about this? What did she say when you told her?”
“Well I texted her and she texted back a sad face, but a few minutes later she texted me a thumb up and a heart so I guess she is o.k. with it.”
We hugged goodbye and promised to get together again soon.
When I got home I couldn’t stop thinking about how Myra was rejecting the idea of being seen as a grandmother. My mind immediately flashed back to my own grandmother; a woman who, with no education, managed to survive in a strange land, marry, run a business, give birth to four children and live to meet and love eleven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
I sat down in the den and wrapped myself in one of grandma’s hand knit afghans and was immediately flooded with memories. Grandma, in her cotton housedresses and orthopedic shoes, probably looked like a grandma while she was still in her thirties. She never ran a marathon nor spent one hour of her life in a beauty salon, so what was it she did that made her so beloved?
Grandma Tatala knit. That’s what she did when she wasn’t stirring pots or kneading dough or chopping onions. Her gnarled fingers were never idle, so after a full day of cooking…