Today is my grandma's 90th birthday, which is something so awesome I almost don't have any words.
Despite growing up in CT, away from our extended family, I remember spending good time with my grandmother (and my grandfather) as a child. We spent weeks up at camp, swimming and playing outside on the nice days, and the annual trip to Kellerhaus when it would rain. She would sit on the dock in her lounge chair, always with a book. [Camp was definitely about swimming and water-skiing and rides in Grandpa's boat, but it was also about board games and cards and curling up with a book at night. Happy hour and horseshoes for the adults, snacks for the kids.] When she had a cocktail, it was gin with bitter lemon, and she always had freckles on her shoulders. This fascinated me, because I didn't. I think when you spend big blocks of time with family as a child, you begin to really see how people linked by these immutable bonds can be so much the same and so different.
I remember going down to the basement on Adin Street to "help" with the laundry. I was always just glad to be with her, even if I was playing beside her while she took care of everyday things. I liked going to an unfamiliar grocery store with her too, looking at the list of items in her perfect script.
And I wish for more frequent visits now. Being able to talk with my grandmother about being a mother, about raising children. Hearing how much things have changed, and about the ways in which children are children no matter when they are born....stories about my dad and the uncles and burning sheds....five kids with measles at once....the fact that she always made time for her friends. These are the things I try to carry with me. Perspective. If my grandma could be home with four little kids and no washing machine, with my grandfather away with the Navy, then I can muster up whatever I need to power me through my challenges as a wife and mother and woman.
She's an inspiration. Love you Grandma!