Last week she was crying in the hospital bed and I was awkwardly leaning over the bed railing, rubbing her head and holding her hand.
In some ways I have known my grandma my entire life, in others she is entirely new. This is not the same women that used to grumble about baby sitting me as a child, but still came to all my dance recitals and all of my brother’s soccer games. Now she loves little children.
This is not the same women who used to relish telling me (as a young child) about the latest horrible news event. Now I can’t give her the newspaper or turn on the news when there was been any sort of disaster, because she starts crying and asks me repeatedly why there are bad people in the world.
This is not the same women who chose to tell me at my high school graduation that I had once behaved so badly when she baby sat me as a toddler that she just went home and cried. Now she likes to tug my curls and calls me her “best helper.”
Now she is a woman who loves watching the same TV shows and movies repeatedly, enjoys those strange moving toys that sing and dance, and whose primary concern is her cookie/ice cream/Milkyway intake.
Ten years ago it would have been hard to imagine that I would have been caring for her, holding her hand, preparing her meals. Not only because it would have been impossible to imagine her agreeing to any of it, but because I couldn’t have imagined being able to do it. Today its different, because just like her, I have also changed.
I am not the girl who was so shy in kindergarten that she couldn’t even talk to the other children at the table. Now I often talk to hundreds of people a day (at least when I am at work).
I am not the girl who was so tomboyish that she never went near anything girly. Now I have pink glasses and my favorite color is purple (although I will forever resist any sort of fancy dress)
I am not the girl who was so stubborn and set in her ways that she held fast to her opinions and ideas. Now I am more adaptable and realize that stubbornness can prevent you from experiencing many of the wonderful things life has to offer.
Now I am a young woman who is much more confident, loving and sure of herself than she was before. I am smart enough and strong enough to care for her, while also working full time and helping to keep the house.
Caring for her hasn’t always been easy. It doesn’t come with vacation days or time off. I have memorized the length of every TV show and movie that she watches and can sit with my laptop in the living room and stream a show off Netflix, pausing at the appropriate times to laugh at or narrate her show. We live increasingly off of pancakes because that is what she likes to eat, but heaven help you if the pancake is even slightly brown. But she is happy, and that is what matters.
She used to be annoyed when I would come over to her house to visit her. Now that she is home from the hospital she keeps looking at me and saying, “You were there, right? You were helping me. You were my best helper.”
It helps that she is such a happy/fun/wonderful grandma.