Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gramma's Gifts on her Birthday

BB, you disappointed me yesterday.  I can't be your girl if you put such ultimatums and attachments on me.  PARD caught my attention last weekend.  That was an accident of my wandering eye, but now I feel scorned and am inspired to actively seek.

Put your tether away, because this horse will only run faster!

Gramma, I remember you on your b-day.  I've been considering a few of the qualities you instilled in me- for better or for worse.

Independence- I truly have no idea why you stayed in your marriage, or how you loved your man.  There were times when I saw the sweetest depths between yall, but there were other times when I saw you spread your wings and fly solo.  You knew love, but you allowed your children, and me, to be hurt by his hands.  

You gave me a home but never helped me succeed in it.  You told me not to dream too big so that I wouldn't be disappointed.  You didn't want me doubling up on my jr/sr level classes and taking correspondence courses from UT at the same time.  You didn't like my letter from that Ivy League school or the invitation to tour Europe with my flute.  You didn't like my drive in academics or athletics.  I didn't pursue some of those opportunities, but you bet I fought my way out of that little town.  This is where I give you credit for teaching me to earn my own damn independence.  Years later, when I brought my baby into this world and had forged my own path, you finally forgave me and acknowledged my independence.  You even praised me for it and spoke highly of me to your friends.  The last time we visited, you even spoke highly of me to me. 

You taught me how to balance my checkbook and you managed the family budget.  I may not have followed your footsteps perfectly, but I get it now and things are running smoother than ever.  Gramma, I wish I'd paid attention sooner.  I didn't think I was in the same position you were and that I could afford to do things differently.  I was wrong.

I have more goals in this area of independence, but you'd be proud of what I've accomplished so far. 

Tenacity- I saw in you unbelievable resilience.  You never gave up.  Your life was hard.  On those nights when I've wanted to pop every pill in the house and fall peacefully into permanent slumber, I can't deny that my life is comparatively easy.  It's you that I still turn to in the worst of times.  You were always there to scoop me up and put me into a warm bed when I had truly lost everyone else.  Since you didn't give up on me so many times before, I never will.  Strength can be accumulated if you flex often, and I'm determined and muscle-bound.

You worked hard on your land and in your professional career.  You were an intelligent woman who still took time to freshen her lipstick and paint her nails.  Your cooking skills live on in my kitchen and your sweat mingles with mine in my garden.  You energy levels always amazed me.  I am your granddaughter through and through.

I try hard in everything I do because of you.  I hope not to do anything halfway.  I love my best and I play my best.  I give, give, give my best.  I feel terrible when I don't.

I can do more, and I will.

The bratty factor- You could pout with the best of them!  By your own assertion, you were a spoiled little girl!  If you wanted lights in your garden, my goodness, grampa made it happen!  I think you knew you had a few things coming your way- you earned them.

This little brat could stand a few lessons, but not the ones you might have thought.  You always seemed to think I was in your way, that I asked for too much of your time.  When we lived together, our best moments were when I was quiet and by your side.  How I hated boring weekends watching PBS!!!  What 10th grader wants to watch Central Texas Gardener?!?!

You were proud of yourself for your own accomplishments, and you wanted recognition for them.  You didn't want anyone to take away what belonged to you.  I promise you, gramma, I NEVER wanted anything that was yours.  I believe that in death we finally see all truths.  I know you hear my heart now.  I only wanted your love and nothing more.

Your little brat will always want love and a place to belong.  (Independence and tenacity don't bring these things.) 

Optimism/Pessimism- Which were you?  You got mad at me once because I failed your pessimism quiz, but to me the results of the quiz meant I was being realistic.  We never did see eye to eye on that one!  To this day, I never know whether to look at the beer can half empty or half full, but I don't give up on people.  Just like you.  You never gave up on anyone.

Being so open allows for deep wounds in the heart.  My experience tells me that true love never dies.  Here is my optimism, gramma- I love deeply.  I'm even learning to let go and simply trust.  You can't protect the heart and love at the same time.

That beer can is however you want it to be, full, empty, or on its way.  There's no right answer because I'm independent, tenacious, and bratty enough to LOVE myself and others in this big, wide world. 

I love you today and forever.  I know what this means.