Monday, November 08, 2010

a beaming grandma

If I think about my social contacts of ten years back – the people I saw on a regular basis here, in Madison – I think – wow. That’s a long list.

If I bring that list into focus, I note one startling reality: none of those people are still good friends (as measured by how often I see them). That is rather remarkable, considering I have stayed in the same town for more than thirty years now.

Divorce can do that for you: it can cut into your social network, ripping it to shreds with a snap of a finger.

There are many women who went through this transition with strong friends (verbally coaching them) at their side. I was not one of them. I went through my divorce (if not the period before it) quietly and after dismissing the involvement of attorneys, handled much of the transition myself.

It is, of course, true that I met Ed in the same season that I finalized my divorce. Ed, a socially quiet person, allowed me to feel equally comfortable with a more quiet existence.

With a handful of close “new” friends and a handful of close far away friends.

But you could not have convinced me ten years ago that I would be so, well, socially quiet now. And I suppose that when I do move to the farmhouse, I will grow even quieter.

On some days, I think – it cannot be! Did I really cook up storms so many times each year for others? Did I?


I think this as I stir foods for Sunday dinner. I am certain that as long as I am around, I will at least cook Sunday dinner. For family and their friends. Even without grandchildren, I have become a Polish grandmother: in my experience, old world grandmothers always cooked the big dinner for the family and their friends. In the course of the hundreds of Sunday dinners I ate at my grandma’s, I never once saw a friend of hers sit down with us for the meal. (Oh dear: did she even have friends? What happened to her friends? I'm told she was, in her younger decades, very social!) She stood near the table and beamed as we all ate.

I wish I had had the maturity to ask her if she ever minded the change to this type of existence.