This past week, Nana wasn't feeling so good. It was touch and go there for awhile, but she seems to be doing better now.
Nana is RK's grandmother. And my surrogate grandmother. And she really is grand, in every sense of the word. Over the last few years, I've taken to calling her Ruth. As that is her name and, I figure, it's still nice to be referred to by your given name even if you are of grandparent status.
I first met Nana at a holiday visit to RK's parent's house. She was a card: making jokes under her breath; constantly asking questions of everyone, so very interested in others; we gushed about certain actors and movies and nay-sayed the others. She was quick and funny and it made me think, everyone should have grandparents at my age.
Every year, I look forward to seeing Nana, sitting next to her at the Thanksgiving table. After our second piece of pie, she usually leans over to me and admits to eating too much, which then makes me, of course, have to reveal the same thing. And we laugh, because before we sat down, we swore to one another this year we wouldn't eat so much. Nana's house is filled with fabulous antiques that I admire every time we're there. Sitting at the kitchen table (isn't that where all great conversations are held?), I point to these pieces, "Ruth, where did you get this one?! And what about this piece? I love this.." She sort of waves her hand around and tells me they were all part of her 'digging' days. Turns out, Nana was a fleamarketer after my own heart. She used to have a stall spot in a shop where she lived out the antique hunter's dream, hocking her wares, digging for more great finds on her days off.
Her worldliness and acceptance of others has always been apparent. Her daughter, my mother-in-law, told me it was because of her mother encouraging her exploration of the world, that she felt drawn to her work in the UN. I thought that was beautiful. To credit your mother with making you more knowledgeable about the world around you, to go outside of what you immediately know and seek something different.
When I think of Ruth in my head, and I think about her a lot, I picture this beautiful, long, soft white hair, wrapped up on her head, some brightly colored piece of clothing (pink sweater, orange scarf), and this little smirk on her lipsticked lips. I'm giving her arm a little squeeze and I'm thinking, "When we have a little girl, I hope she grows up to be as grand as you."
Photo from SquareAmerica