Monday, September 5, 2011

What I Won't Forget

There are things I won't forget about this weekend with my mom, my grandpa, and my step-grandma.

I wasn't expected to be there. My mom had said that she didn't need anyone to be with her, but I knew she was wrong and that she would.  But if I said I was coming, she'd just hem and haw and feel guilty, so I just decided that I would go without telling her.  And if I was already there when she found out, she couldn't very well send me home 2 1/2 hours since I'd come all that way, right?  So, when I walked in the door, she was a little surprised...

After giving her a hug, I walked over to Grandpa to give him a "hello" hug as well.  The plan was to hug him, tell him hello, and then find a seat amongst the veritable party of people that were in the room.  Seriously, there were a lot and it was a little insane.  After hugging him, I squeezed his hand...  he squeezed back and told me that he was really glad that I had come.  And then he wouldn't let go.  I just found my seat on the floor right next to his chair, my hand in his, and we sat there like that for a good hour.  I found myself there a few more times over the next couple days... just sitting on the floor by the arm of his chair, holding his hand, sometimes leaning my head against his arm, as he dozed in and out.

I won't forget that.

Mostly because it's destined to become a little joke between my mom and I, I certainly won't forget the Mexicans. Oh, those poor Mexicans.  My grandparents are good people... but they're almost 90, and set in their ways and opinions.  Not really any use arguing with them...  not much point to it.  After this long, they're aren't apt to be swayed, so my general code of conduct for visits is to employ "smile and nod." This works awesome for short 4-hour visits.  Apparently, I am not quite as good at keeping it up for three-day visits.  It was sorely tested with the Mexicans.

For some reason, just about every national and local problem can be laid at the feet of the Mexicans.  Health care, economy, education.  You name it, those darned Mexicans are responsible for it.  The first few times, my eyes probably widened... but smile and nod, Jo.  Smile and nod.  I managed to continue it for the "Do YOU have any Mexicans in your neighborhood?"  I came THIS close to answering "No, we live in Redmond.  It's very well-to-do, and there's a city ordinance that bans them from taking up residence" but managed to conquer the urge.

It was the second day when we were apparently complaining about the food in the grocery store that I just about lost it.  It was a perfectly normal conversation...  apparently, all the food is too spicy.  "They are FORCING us to buy spicy food.  We aren't ALL Mexicans, you know."  I couldn't help it!  I laughed out loud.  I wasn't expecting it in this particular conversation, and I just couldn't help it.  From that point on, every time anything came up, my brain would go "I bet he's Mexican."  That's terrible, I know.  lol  This might be a "you had to be there" thing.

But, I won't forget that, either.

When I was very young, my grandma died when Grandpa was out-of-town as a trucker.  I don't remember very much of that.  But I do remember being in my room when he came over to our house the night he returned.  I think my mom had to tell him what had happened.  And he cried.  I don't mean cried.  I mean, racking sobs.  It was, I think, the first time I'd ever heard a grown man cry like that.  And in the ensuing 25 years, I don't think I've heard a lot of others.  Men are usually so strong and stoic and...  well, just strong, I guess.  And my grandpa wasn't any different...  but it was the first time that I was ever aware that men could be like that. That they could cry and be that emotionally affected by things.

So, perhaps, it is fitting that after my mom had said Goodbye to him, I went in to sit on his bed to say my own.  There was no sobbing today.  But there were tears.  I don't think he wanted me to see him cry, but I think it was not-wrong to hug him, to lay my cheek on his chest with my arms around his neck, and tell him it was okay to cry. It's hard to know how to pack all the I'm sorrys, and all the memories, and all the Iloveyous into one tear-filled conversation.  But, when I left, I think he knew I loved him

And I certainly won't forget that either.

3 comments:

  1. I'm not sure what to say, but I wanted you to know I was here. I miss my Grandpa and my Grandma too...think of them every day. Good memories.

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  2. Well, my friend, you have had me crying 3 nights in a row. I saw my Grparents all the time, every holiday, every special occasion, they babysat us...they were just always there...they died in the 80's, not sure what days and I have missed them each and every day since. Miss my mom and dad lots too!...and, yes, such good memories...thoughts and prayers are with you tonight!

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  3. Very sweet. It's really hard to watch Grandparents get old.

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