- Guess how many boys at school like me Mama?
- How many?
- How do you know they like you?
- Because they’re really mean! And when boys are mean, it means they like you.
All of us are better when we’re loved.
This long weekend I’ll be driving 7hrs. each way to see my grandmother, who lives in the lonely depths of the most perfect little Connecticut village you ever did see.
I wasn’t sure I could face the drive, but she called last night to check, because a few weeks ago, I mentioned that Ailsa and I might visit her at Easter. She is 91 and she forgets things, a lot of things, sometimes in the course of one conversation. However this information she had not forgotten.
- Are you coming? she asked in her tremulous voice.
Ailsa looked at me, raised her eyebrow. “Yes, we are”.
- Oh thank goodness. I’m so glad. I might cry.
- Don’t cry Abwe, unless they are happy tears!
I can feel when she needs me to call her. I’ve always had this internal clock that ticks louder and louder if I let too many days go by without reaching out to her. Sometimes I ignore it, because she knows me well, and I don’t want to infect her with my bad day, I can’t smile down the line. But sometimes I call her because I feel so good that I want to send that bright strong whatever-it-is down the line and feed her with it, like a bird.
We call her Abwe. It comes from abuela - grandmother in Spanish. When I was a little girl growing up in Buenos Aires, I spoke Spanish, so I decided to call her Abwe - short for abuelita, which means “little grandmother”. She taught me to look at everything, to see how the crack in that wall looked like a bird, or how that tree was bent over as if to greet us. She was so far from little, she was so aware and alive.
But these days, she is a little grandmother. She is shrinking - voice, size, the energy around her. She is preparing to take up less and less space in the world. She will not be here much longer.
The smaller she gets, the more my heart recognizes how huge she is for me.
The heart is like a muscle yes, but sometimes it goes into spasms and won’t let go.
A relationship is like a shark. It has to constantly move forward or it dies.
I love you so much mama. You’re the best. I’m so glad you chose me from the cloud!
For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
Rainer Maria Rilke