Out for ice cream last night on Cape Cod, there were a few families with a Grandma in tow. “Thanks, Nana” said one group to the white haired lady who treated them to ice cream cones. I saw another grandmother getting out of a minivan with her 50 something son or daughter and their kids.
One of my girlfriends recently had her elderly mom stay at her house after recovering from a hospital stay. It was comforting to me to see her, working on her crossword puzzle in the living room, having a cup of tea or napping. Grandma things.
I was lucky enough to have my grandma in my life up until a few years ago. My grandma brought me for ice cream when I was a kid and a teenager, then I brought her for ice cream and shopping when she could no longer drive. There was something soothing about having her along with our family, for a Sunday dinner or to stop by a yard sale for a gander (we shared a love of shopping, even though she was much more frugal than me). Sometimes it was hard to be patient when she would be old fashioned (“you are still doing that?” she once said to me and wrinkled her nose as I was breastfeeding my six month old). But she always added a good element to a family gathering nonetheless.
I also had the privilege of getting to know my husband’s grandma over the last 10 years. Like my Grandma, this grandma loved children and grandchildren, loved to meet new people and embraced being a senior citizen. Also like my Grandma, my grandma-in-law liked a good bit of gossip here and there, which I also enjoy from time to time. In the early years of my marriage (before Grandma-in-Law had to give up alcohol because of her medication), I could enjoy a cocktail with her (my real Grandma was a Methodist).
Both Grandmas lived for a long time, both to know their great grandchildren. Both died within the last few years.
So, when I was having an ice cream last night, I looked wistfully at the families with the grandmas. And remembered.