Last week I made my usual Friday trek up to my daughter’s home to babysit toddler Ryan so that Rachel could attend her Bible study at church. The weather was good, so grandson and I went outside for some sunshine and fresh air. I opened up his plastic sandbox and turned on the hose for him to occupy himself while I started weeding and planning a rearrangement of Rachel’s garden.
As I began attacking Rachel’s Lilies of the Valley – it seems to be my main gardening task these days – I noticed that Ryan preferred to follow me around with the gardening spade imitating my every move. It wasn’t long before his hands were fully immersed in the dirt. This was progress for Ryan who, up to now, has been a little fussy about getting slimed by organic elements.
I was thoroughly enjoying the morning when I started to get that déjà vu feeling. I thought of those years of my childhood when I would spend the weekends at my grandmother Josephine’s home. The summer days were very much like my day at Rachel’s. My grandmother would have her shovel in hand as she moved plants or pulled weeds. I would be playing in a sandbox or the wading pool in her very long front yard. It was long because her small two bedroom house, actually her parent’s house, was built all the way at the back of the lot. There was no back yard.
As I recalled the few photos we have of me toddling around the Brucellaria yard at 6757 S. Hermitage, I realized how much I now resemble my grandmother. In some of the photos, soon to be retrieved from my sister, I recall her in her black “peddle-pushers” which we now call Capri pants. Her hair was salt and pepper and at about the same length of semi-curls that mine is now.
When I was a young woman I could not imagine being a middle aged grandmother. Most twenty-something women are too busy enjoying the combination of youth and adulthood to think about the stage of life when one’s body begins to experience the wear and tear of life. I knew I did not want to “let myself go” like so many of the moms of my childhood, but I also knew that I loved and admired my grandmother so much, I would want to be to my grandchildren what she was to me.