This last weekend with my mom and my grandma in town, and then the unexpected guest(s), Violet’s brother and eventually his girlfriend too, went well. Good actually. Nice. And at times, fun. And, in a general sense, I feel a little closer to my grandma in ways. She was, as expected, difficult at times, but nothing major, nothing too over the top.
I watched my mom deal with her during those few moments when she was being a PIA (pain in ass) and I watched my mom be remarkably patient. I could tell that she was annoyed but she was so flawless in remaining calm and kind that I realized I had always just assumed this was a natural characteristic of my mom, when in fact her sincere, “It’s ok, no problem” is an intentionally practiced skill-turned talent. I observed (and admired) this in hopes of learning something, as patience is not free and my mom has always been bottomless.
After I dropped the two of them off at the train station my mind started to replay the last few days. I started to realize how much I don’t know about my grandma – and want to- and probably never will. There were moments where I wondered if she was apologizing for what she had said the weekend before, in her own way – or if she had just moved on and softened up that quickly? I couldn’t stop wondering about a lot.
I’ve talked to my mom about this before, and I wonder if my grandma would have been/ would be a lesbian if that was an ‘option’ for her? Despite several husbands, a few of us were never convinced. Is she a feminist? Has she ever had an orgasm? Has she ever kissed another woman? I started to see her as a whole person who has had a really big life… and I don’t know any of the internal stuff to ANY of it. I want to know but I have no idea how to know. I just can’t see her opening up that way and I also can’t see myself asking my grandma if she’s ever gotten off.
She was born in West Virginia and now in her 70’s, has ended up a fairly well off, twice widowed, retired woman living in Hawaii. How in the world did that happen? Did she MAKE that life happen or did it just go that way? She was in love with my mom’s dad, but ever again? I’m not sure. I’m not sure if she’s sure. I’m not sure that mattered.
I’m not sure how she came to think the way she does about anything. Is she a republican because of her money? Or does she really believe it that political philosophy? Does she really think gay people shouldn’t marry? Or is that just an unchecked opinion? What in the world does she really believe in? What in the world really matters to her? I don’t know. And I don’t know if I ever will.
On Saturday, while walking through Pike Place Market, my grandma asked a woman to take our picture, “This is going to be my Christmas card so sunglasses off and smile” she said to mom and me through her already ready camera smile.
The woman held the camera to her face and asked, “How do y’all know each other anyway?”
My grandma responded, “We’re three generation right here, out on the town together.” And it was right then, arm in arm in arm, that I realized I was in some pretty incredible company.