Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Grace of Grandmas

My mother brought the box* over on Wednesday evening, it smelled of a cedar hope chest and the passage of time. It was the very baptismal outfit that I wore some 33 years ago, and was adorned with lace and ribbon, layers upon layers of frilly cuteness. The box was askew, the top not quite fitting the bottom, it had curled up a bit throughout the years but the vintage charm of the box and the label on the dress were charming and endearing, representing a time gone by, a lost era. Generations were crossing, traditions were passing on, sacraments were being made. A mother, a daughter, a granddaughter, the circle enlarging as time marches on.

Gram LaSarso is getting on in years and the past few months have been physically and emotionally challenging for her and my mother. Their roles have switched, my mother the caregiver, washing her hair, living at her house, helping her dress and getting up with her in the middle of the night. We joke about the similarities of caring for the very young and the very old. My mother, always the selfless one, always helping others, I see the toll it's taking. Working long hours, living out of a suitcase, hoping Gram doesn't fall, or worse, while she's at work, and yet she rarely complains. And her day off, her day off on Friday's is filled caring for the grandchildren, changing diapers, filling sippy cups, rehashing school days. In some way it must feel good to help, to do whatever she can so that when the time does come she knows she did all she could, something she wasn't able to do for my father, or for hers, they were gone in an instant, there was no waiting period.

Today was a gift. A gift to have Gram here to celebrate with us, to see her great-granddaugther perfectly fill out the frilly gown that she bought for me so many years ago. Ironically the sermon today was all about Thomas the apostle. Thomas. My father's name. How fitting. I teared up, holding my little girl whose smile is so bright and innocent, as the music and songs tugged at my emotions, the feeling of family and loss, love and hope surrounded me. My brother winked at me, that understanding wink. The wink that says he's hear, he knows, he sees us.

I'm looking forward to the day that I can bring the box over to Ellie's house.

*I found this photo of the box on eBay, this picture isn't of our box.