Because my husband was studying for a work-related test, I decided to leave the house today to give him total quiet. Besides, it was an excuse to roam the thrift shops for more wool.
I went to a Goodwill that had very narrow aisles. To pass someone, you had to literally step into a rack of clothes. I’d just entered one aisle with someone right behind me when I noticed a very small woman in a wheelchair being pushed by one woman, followed by another, enter the same aisle. That’s five of us, so no one would be passing anyone given the width of that wheelchair. But because I wasn’t in a hurry I found myself eavesdropping on their conversation. I quickly realized the two women were the granddaughters of the woman in the wheelchair. They were picking up clothes and showing them to her as she ooohed and aaaahed, clearly liking everything she saw. One was asking if she wanted this or that, fiddling with the tags as if they were in Macys. The other was commenting on the “good price[s]” not divulging that everything was actually $4. It took me a minute, but I realized they were taking grandma for an afternoon of shopping, and grandma didn’t realize she was in a Goodwill. She could have been anywhere given the way these gals were talking up those clothes. By the time I left, grandma had a few items draped across her lap and the look of joy on her face was palpable. It was so sweet and those clever granddaughters seemed to be having as much fun as grandma. I just loved the lesson from start to finish.
It reminded me of an art class I took many decades ago. I was sitting across from a woman who had to be in her 80’s. She too was flanked by girls who identified themselves as her grandchildren (possibly great grandchildren) as they commented on almost every stroke the woman made on her canvas: “Oh Grandma, you are so good at this.” And, “Oh Grandma, I’m getting this painting, right? You gave the last one to….” so and so. The grandmother was having a field day, just soaking up all the compliments while painting slow, deliberate strokes on her less-than-stellar project. What a great idea, I thought, spending time doing something, making something, and helping grandma not just with her mind but also her mood. This story, and the one above, are testaments to these grandmothers and their smart granddaughters.
Today, as it was years ago, I walked away admiring how some women fare at the sunset of their lives. It is a good mother who raises good children who raise, as in these cases, wonderful granddaughters who shower their grandmothers with love and respect, attention and time and, even if a bit tongue in cheek, admiration. What grandmother wouldn’t want to spend the day with her granddaughters, but under these circumstances, what could be more heartwarming?
My maternal grandmother was very special to me. She was the one who introduced me to needlework and crafting. I am eternally grateful for her everlasting gift to seek knowledge and stay busy and productive. I think of her every day of my life. These two happy stories make me yearn for her company, and I wish she lived long enough so that I might have been able to take her shopping or to a painting class and lavish her with the same love, joy and self-confidence she gave me.