Sunday, April 23, 2006

~My mother loved it so she said
Sad eyed pearl and drop lips
Glancing pierce through writer man
Spoke hushed and frailing lips
Old eyes skim in creasing lids
A tear falls as she describes
Approaching death with a yearning heart
With pride and no despise~
-peter murphy-

On Friday I took the children to see my Granny. It's been way too long since I've been to see her because of my insane uncle living in her basement and I've been afraid of bringing the kids near him. It's all like a really bad old southern drama involving crazy people, expensive jewelry and a mansion on a hill.
Granny has always been glamorous. With red hair and flawless skin, she is the type of woman that makes other women squirm with shame about their years baking in the sun. She likes men and they've always liked her. When Granny walked into a room, the men took notice.
Granny always had exotic pets when I was growing up; there was an ocelot, foxes, squirrels and a monkey among the many.
My Granny has been a photographer, artist, model, actress, wife (three times over!), and mother.
Granny collects teddy bears and dolls. A few years ago she told me that she bought a teddy or doll whenever she felt sad. Her collection takes up about four small rooms.
She taught me the proper way to buy a teddy by looking at his face and finding the one with the most charm... because even if they are all the 'same' teddy, they will still all have different faces.
Granny read Beatrix Potter to me. She could sew and even has a little sewing room that was such a wonderful mystery to me as a child.

Granny has always been a demanding diva bitch who has held beauty above all. She would moan and tell me that I looked like a plucked chicken or worse when I was a teenager who had a penchant for shaving my head and coloring my hair every color possible. She would sigh and shake her head when she saw my sad finger nails and I would feel so embarrassed that I hid my hands whenever I saw her. I thought that because I wasn't beautiful like her that she couldn't possibly love me.

I didn't recognize Granny when I walked into her bedroom. She has alzheimer's now and broke her back last year falling down the stairs. She can't do anything for herself her hair that she has always kept a vibrant red is white... she didn't have on her cherished makeup, but her skin is still flawless. She moans and says how she need help, please help me, she says, I hurt so badly. But she had on a beautiful silk blouse for our visit... Granny loves beautiful clothes.

She said that Ella was "Goddamn cutest little girl". And I laughed through my tears because Granny loves to say 'Goddamn' because of the shock value that it has always had on people in the South to hear such a beautiful woman say such a thing. So she's still in there, you know?

Granny stopped moaning and looked at me quietly for a few moments and said, "you have the most beautiful hair that I have ever beautiful". Damn it you know what I would have given to hear her say that when I was a child? But it takes her this frail and sad to tell me that. I was suddenly bashful, but I can't hide all of this hair that I have. I've stopped shaving it and coloring it for a few years now and it's long, thick and deep brown. I thought that it was boring, but now Granny has me feeling that it's almost glamorous.

Before I left, I kissed Granny on the cheek and promised that I would bring the children back soon. She looked at me with her very clear green eyes and told me that I get prettier every time that she sees me. And it's not too late for me to hear her praise. I just wish that we could have been more to each other my entire life.

But my kids are so lucky to know three of their great-grandparents. So lucky.


lulu said...

Hi Amy! I have to admit... I read this post days ago but it left me speechless (in a good way ;-)) What a moving story! I'm so glad you shared it... I still don't know just what to say... it was just a beautiful post. I hope you get to see more of your gram... sometimes they are the toughest on the ones they love the most...

And those sweet little faces ate the end!

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

What a beautiful tribute you wrote, honest, bold, clear, hearing her say GD made the story shout...she passes her youth and beauty on to live it well!!