Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Grandmother to the World"

"Grandmother to the world, that's what you'd like to be," my friend said.  She laughed when she said it, but it surprised me nonetheless because I did not think I had been doing anything particularly grandmotherly. I have thought about her comment from time to time since she said it.  My role models have changed to the likes of Miss Marple rather than Emma Peel or a rockette over the years with a few wishful thinking but not likely episodes. 

Throughout my avatars I have been guided by my grandmother's smile.  She had that kind of smile that let you know everything would be all right.  She only lost her temper with me once--when I really really deserved it.  She laughed way more times than I can count and most importantly, she thought that everything I did was wonderful.  Even when I knew it wasn't so, I liked hearing it.

I have spent a week with a baker's dozen of high school age students: young people teetering on the edge of responsibility for life changing decisions.  It is good for me to be reminded not to romanticize growing up.  For all the good times, it is no easier than other phases of life.  Listening to gthier choices, their challenges, their fears, was a privilege.  Not an easy time always but certainly an important one--for me certainly and for them as well, I hope.

One of the students wrote on my copy of our anthology--a collection of some of the writing from the week--that she would pick me to fill in if she needed a spare grandmother. I was honoured.  I still have ambitions of my own, but I could do much worse than Grandmother to the World.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Something Good Out of Something Bad

Even though they try very hard, hospitals are not sites for aesthetic pleasure seeking.  Not only the plain, scrubbable walls and the wide, smooth corridors designed for moving people who cannot move themselves but also the very reasons for being there.  Even when you come for happy occasions, it is not a place you like to linger.

I am not the subject of the hospital visit, so I am already one degree of separation from the worrying bits about hospital visits.  I am worried about my friend though.  That worry leads me to be more determinedly cheerful than I feel.  Over lunch in the dining room, I relax a little and notice the hydrangeas offering up their last blooms of the season rapidly closing around us.

Hopelessly muddled by the many wonderful buttons on my new camera, I surrender to the Smart Camera feature and let it do the thinking for both of us.  This is one of the shots that my camera and I both liked and so I share it with you.

I like to think these hydrangeas were a promise that things would be well. And so they were.