My maternal grandmother never got to see me nor I her,
Nor my maternal grandfather, nor I him.
My mother was orphaned by age twenty four.
Mom’s sister who was almost ten years older than Mom and she was my stand-in Grandmother-Aunt.
Auntie EM was a joy to be around, to laugh with, to learn to cook and set a proper table.
Her kids, my cousins were like a brother and sister to me.
The farm they all lived on was a paradise for me a suburban kid.
Sadly, her husband, their Dad, Uncle Henry did not live until his children were adults.
I got to meet my paternal grandmother, who had so many children she seemed to live in a shoe, that is eleven children, ten who lived.
She was often busy caring for others and then she needed care when she lived to be ninety seven.
My paternal grandfather worked so hard he stroked out by the time his youngest child was a teenager.
I remember seeing him lying in a bed when we visited my rural grandmother.
My father was second oldest of ten and became more of a father to his younger siblings than a brother.
My parents got to see our children, their grandchildren until they were young adults,
And then they passed away in their eighties.
First to go was my smiling, chipper, kind Mother, and then seven years later was my wise, dry humored, quote-maker of sayings that were often by Yogi Berra —my dear Dad.
“When you arrive in a fork in the road, take it.” Yogi Berra (thanks, Dad)
Oh, how I miss them.
I smile as I remember my father pushing his walker up through throngs of people to hear our son sing to his bride at their wedding reception.
“Excuse me, that’s my grandson singing. Isn’t he quite the singer?!” said Dad to the crowd of relatives and friends from both families.
Now, I am getting to see my first grandson each Sunday after Hearts and Hands class.
And I think, “Isn’t he great, look how he grows!”
I gladly snuggle him close and count his eyelashes.
I notice swirls in his brown, fine hair.
I view his chest move up and down and listen to his breathing.
He stretches and moves and grunts and squeaks.
He is freshly minted, sweet smelling, with long fingers and toes.
I smile and rest in the comfort of knowing life goes on.
New life is so precious, as is all life.
And this long lifer is here to count the ways, observe details, snuggle with baby.
Life goes on.
I am grateful I am to be here to observe, listen, smile, breathe, hug, laugh, and feel.
I guess I am at the beginning of my twilight phase, or winter phase, or wise-elder stage.
I feel like I was just what is called “middle-aged.”
Where is time going and how do I snatch up and give back each drop of joy, love, kindness, and peace that is revealing itself daily?
There is gratitude in these bones.