Sophie invited me to participate in a new meme she's started called "Women are Fantastic" Friday. I think this is such a great idea, and I'm thrilled to be in on the inaugural week for such an encouraging project. Join in if you'd like!
For this first week, I picked my grandma. While I was lucky enough to grow up with three grandmas, I was extra fortunate to live next door to my mom's mom. My grandma is one of the bravest and most amazing women I know, and even though the last couple years have been hard without my grandpa, my grandma keeps on going. She keeps going so much that she and I (along with Jules) are going on a fabulous vacation together in June.
One of the blessings of Sydney going up to my parents' house every week is that she gets to see her Grandma-Great. Sydney adores Grandma-Great, and I have no words to adequately capture how grateful I am that Sydney gets to spend time with all her grandparents. It's one of the great blessings of my life.
For my grandma...classy, sassy, and super fantastic.
I reach under my daughter's chin
and gently drum my fingers--
a movement I learned from my grandma
who in doing that would look into my eyes,
and strum her fingers beneath my grin,
playing a lovely tune.
No matter how old my grandma gets--
and she's nearly 93--
I always picture her hands the same,
wrinkled and worn with love,
like a map that has been folded so many times
in searching for directions in getting from here to there.
The map on the palm of her hands
gives directions on how to raise four children
moving from place to place, year to year,
following the orders of the military.
Hands that held my mother's hand
as they crossed the Pacific Ocean
on an ocean liner full of sea-sick people
(except my mother)
traveling from Japan to home--
in a whole memory of homes.
I can smell on my grandma's hands
the scent of lavender, of vanilla,
of roses and detergent and baby lotion.
I know no one who can clean like she does,
get laundry as white as she can,
make blankets smell as wonderful as
the smell that I smell in her hands.
I hate to wash the clothes, the blankets,
the towels, the coats, the aprons that she
passes along from her hands to mine
for fear that I will wash away the smell
that I love so much.
In her left hand I read the path that says
you must be right-handed
you must give up your native language
you must stay home from school at 13
to clean for others
to help raise your six siblings
on this farm in North Dakota.
Studying her right hand I see the roads
that led her from North Dakota
to Oregon California Nevada Japan Hawaii
and finally Washington, the Family Farm,
where she holds me and teaches me the directions
and stories of her handy maps.
I see her hands together
holding her granddaughter as she rocks her to sleep
holding the pie dough and slapping it into a ball
holding the book she reads to my daughter
holding the bucket of August's blueberries
holding the flag that the soldier gave her
when my grandpa couldn't hold her hand any longer.
She opens her hands, and I see the roads
that lead to faithfulness and love
and all the places I want to go someday.
I press my hands into hers
hoping my palms memorize the paths my grandma took
in getting from there to here.