We had lunch with my grandma on Wednesday. We try to see her every 2 weeks or so, whether it's a quick trip to drop off some eggs and some food for her freezer, or a longer adventure. The girls love going to see her. She has a basket of toys for Kit. Annika talks and talks about whatever is interesting to her at that moment and my grandma is always interested and engaged, which makes A so happy. Sometimes we go to lunch. We stick with hometown institutions like Burgerville, Bob's Red Mill (where I also knock out my bulk grocery shopping), or Tebo's. We're all about the cheap, easy, and local. This week, Gunnar came along since school has ended for the summer, so we picked up Grandma and headed to Tebo's for some strawberry shortcake.
We sat at the table and I watched her play tickling games with Kit. As they played and laughed, I started taking pictures of her hands. I think I've talked about her hands before, but I'm too lazy to go find it in the archives. It bears repeating. I love these hands and their gnarled beauty. When I hold them, I feel all of the work they have done. The baby tending, cookie making, years and years of typing, garden weeding and planting. I remember sleeping over at my grandma's house and she would tickle my back and my face until I fell asleep. When I was a teenager, she held my hands and remarked on how they looked like hers when she was young, then laughed at her own 65 year old hands. She doesn't bake much anymore and she lets other people do the heavy lifting in the garden. But to me her hands will always be strong and beautiful.
She is beautiful.
We drove her back home and I helped her out of the car. We hugged, and I watched her walk to her front step from the car. Her body isn't very straight anymore, and it's tiny now - bent over from arthritis and age. She walks in slow measured steps and I can see the pain that I know she feels but doesn't discuss. That's her way. My eyes filled with tears and I glanced over at Gunnar, who teared up as well. In that moment we were struck by how lucky we are to still have her in our lives like this and we realized how short the time may be. He put his hand on my back, we smiled at her through our tears as she turned and waved from the front door, and waved back. We drove away, filled with gratitude for the time we have left with this beautiful lady. Hopefully she can fit more frequent visits into her still busy schedule, because we're going to need them.