I remember... gardening in the backyard, taking flowers started in the basement and putting them out to grow in the sun. Finding snails. Discovering that the smell of peonies and hyacinth would eventually become like crack to me. The sunlight filtering in through the huge tree.
I remember... sneaking quietly into her bedroom, opening jewelry boxes, her personal one that I wasn't quite free to rifle through, trying everything on, trying to put it back just right. Sampling lipstick that smelled like a cosmetic in a way modern ones don't really anymore. Trying her nail polishes. Slipping into satin nightgowns and acting like I was a princess from someplace far away.
I remember... waking up to the smell of bacon and pancakes and knowing she made them especially for me. I'd usually drink milk and sneak drinks of her black coffee.
I remember... black and white films and windmill cookies and lazying the day about. Learning to sew on plastic cross stitch things with yarn. Watching her work her needle with her patterns.
I remember... driving down to the lake early, ahead of the rest of my family. Stopping to pick up turtles. Sneaking in antiquing and ice cream cones with tiny plastic monkeys on top.
My grandmama is 83 and it has begun to hit me that she may not live as long as my great-grandmother. I don't handle the thought well. G and I sit quietly, both of us crying, both of us having loved this woman. I thank God for giving me more time, for not taking her a couple years ago.
It is hard to realize that your daughter may never really know her. The thing that used to keep me up at night now haunts my days. I whisper to her about this woman. I recognize that who I am has a lot to do with having wanted to be like her, in finding that our tastes are similar. I hope to pass that on to this child.
My heart is a bit broken today. I keep reminding myself she's still here, and that we don't know the future. But I just want to pause. When I head back to see everyone in September I plan to spend quite a bit of time with her, trying to take in as much as I can. My daughter may not get to know her by herself, but she will through me.