Monday, April 11, 2005
April is such a “grandma” month for me! My grandmother’s birthday came now (had she lived, she’d be 104) though it is one of these unfortunate things that in all the years and summers I spent with her, I had never seen her eat a piece of cake baked in her honor.
Much can be written about my grandmother. Really, tons and gobs. And I am sure I will come back to her in this blog, as I tend to, when I get in one of those pensive-about-my-childhood moods. But today I had a bit of an epiphany about my life and times in her home and I just want to note it here, while the thought is fresh.
People in this country give greeting/parting hugs; in Europe they kiss each other’s faces. But my grandmother really did neither. Instead, at least to me, her youngest grandchild (and I dare say to my sister as well) she was available with her giant bear embrace that literally enveloped me in her body – which was ample and warm.
That embrace was so comforting that I still regard that as one of the greatest gifts anyone can give to another. I would give a lot to lose myself in ampleness* in the way I did then.
It was not unusual for me to get scared in the middle of the night. The Polish village where she lived was so quiet that you could hear the wind mess with the branches and the power of that breeze often sent my running to her room. She’d make room in her huge bed and I’d stay there for the night, wanting nothing more than to be by her, protected and safe.
There was force in her arms. She was used to shoveling coal daily into the kitchen stove. Holding on to a little girl must have been easier than easy for her.
Petite Anglaise wrote a beautiful post about her elderly neighbor in Paris, who had problems turning on the TV and had to (laboriously) come down to ask for help. It made me wonder about whether the neighbor has grandchildren and whether they ever had the benefit of their grandmother’s wrap-around arms.
Octopus arms, open arms. I wonder if their usefulness is still there. Must be. I noticed One Child uses the term to invite comments. I wonder if he had a grandmother who taught him how to use arms to comfort another.
* Ampleness is a state of the mind as much as the contour of a body. Sure, my grandmother had an ample chest and eiderdown pillow shape. But she was very short and grew down almost as rapidly as I grew up. Nevertheless, I always found myself enveloped by her. It was in the way she took me into her fold.
More: I am going to direct you all to the voting place here and urge you to do the same! Why should Howard Dean capitalize on the community of bloggers’ willingness to band together in support of his candidacy way back when, while poor Michelle struggles alone to realize her own stormy dream?
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if votes came pouring in from Japan (cashing in: remember when I wrote out the recipe you wanted so badly last year?), from Poland (bribery: I’ll buy you a round of drinks when I’m there in May), from France, Washington, Arizona, Florida? Yes! All for the good of Michelle so that she can rise to new weathering heights.
I say when a woman feels passionate about clouds, we stand behind her. Got a blog? Create a link and get others to jump on board the Michelle weather wagon.
Voting ends on 4/14 so get to it.