Today is/was my grandmother’s birthday. If she were still alive, she would have been 102 today. She passed 3 and a half years ago. It is hard to believe it was that long ago and at the same time we didn’t really have my grandma with us for a while before that. She was lost in a sea of interesting dementia that made all of her timelines exist at the same time which disoriented her and created someone other than who we knew in her little body.
But before all of that, she was my grandma and we were close. She and I had a special bond and felt as though she truly knew me, all of me and was always ready to be present for whatever we, her grandchildren needed. I remember long hours of talking with her in the kitchen. She would listen and maybe advise a bit but mostly it would be to swap stories and listen. She was ready with whatever I liked currently to have on hand to drink and snackage was always availabe.
I miss baking with her. Helen baked and baked with me. She baked every week for our family. And there were days where I would watch her with her recipes, bags of flour at the ready. Her pie crusts were perfectly flaky and her cakes moist.
When I bake now, especially if I use a recipe, she is present with me again, guiding me along the way.
This morning as I think about her, I am ever aware that in less than a week, I am becoming a parent, a designation that I didn’t think was for me until now. I never thought there would be someone in the world calling me mom. My mom assures me it is the best choice that we could make. She keeps telling me it will be rewarding beyond my imagination and I am ready to greet my son into the world. But I also am quite sad today that he won’t have the Helen experience. It is weird to me to have my child not know my grandma, his great grandmother. He will have his own grandma experience with my mom and Ana’s mom and he will tell stories about how each of them are awesome grandmas as I know they will be and are. My mom is as excited for her 7th grandchild as she was for the first and I am so excited for them to have a relationship. I am excited for him to meet his other grandmother, Vesna and I am sure she will teach him a different kind of baking and how she gardens and they will chat in a different language all their own.
Thinking about Helen, I am grateful for the women before me who have offered me such examples to raise my child with continuous and abundant love.
And Ana has asked me what I will bake today….;)