|my great-aunt Jean|
For me, one of those women is my father's mom, Grandma Ruth. For a long time, she was "just" Grandma to me, but as our family got more complicated, the addition of her first name made it easier to keep everyone straight. I often worry that Grandma died without knowing the influence she had on my life, partly because I hadn't yet lived enough of that life to understand it myself. I didn't realize that all the things that make me, well, me, they have to come from someone, and one of those someones is her. She's been on my mind a lot lately, and Mother's Day seems a good time to give credit where credit is due.
|Me with the women who made me: Grandma Ruth, Mom, and Grandma Florence|
(more about Grandma Florence in a future post...)
1) She showed me I can be my own person. Be a Democrat in a red Republican sea. Cheer on the Red Sox when just about everyone else is wearing Yankee blue. Camp in an Argosy when other travelers are towing an Airstream. If you're more a writer than a farmer's wife, so be it. She actually got to live the dream of seeing her name in print.
2) Music, reading, writing, art. She loved all these things, and judging by a girlhood diary, she loved them her whole life through. We even loved and loathed some of the same things. We found ourselves baffled by modern art, transported by soaring arias. Little Women is the book that defined our lives. We cried when Beth died, admired Marmie's and Meg's steadfast motherly devotion, frowned at Amy's frivolity, and most all, wanted not-so-secretly to be Jo. I, like Jo, like my grandmother, have filled diary after diary and now, however tentatively, I too am trying to make my way in the writerly world.
|Grandma Ruth with three of her boys, my uncle Doug, my uncle Steve, and my dad|
|Grandma Ruth with my girls|
PS Much to my children's chagrin, I am constantly going on about how people are so busy photographing their lives that they forget to live. But apparently I got so busy living that I forgot to snap one photograph: a picture of Grandma with my son. So when you finish reading, please grab your camera or your phone and get that picture you always meant to take. You'll be glad you did.