With no living grandparents left, I consider it a gift to have Bubby Lola living near enough to visit. She’s technically my husband’s step-mother’s mother…but to me, she’s just Lola.
I saw her this past weekend. The kids were having a “Daddy walk” (taking the train to Salem, and bopping around town with my husband), and I had a very pleasant drive all by myself.
The visit was nothing particularly noteworthy – we ate brunch together with some of her friends from the independent living community, poked around at a bookstore, chatting the whole time about this and that.
And yet, it was incredibly special. Each visit seems to evoke long forgotten memories of my own relatives. Lola carries a tissue up her sleeve, reminding me of Aunt Pudd. I wonder at what age I will decide it’s useful to have that tissue, dabbing at my own eyes, lost in some private memory.
Walking with the distinct gait of double knee replacements, Lola’s bobble back and forth reminds me of Grandma Betty, whose distinct shuffle grew as the feeling in her feet diminished.
Lola told me a story about when she fell flat on the top decker of a bus she was taking for a day trip. Her friend asked her if she could get up. Lola has metal in her knees and it was too painful to get on her knees to try and get up…and what she replied was: I don’t have any knees! Her laughter at herself while she tells the story pulls me back to Grandma Jeanne, telling a story about her own foibles, laughing all the while.
She talks about Irv, her husband gone now for a few years. I think of Grandma Lucille, missing her Fred, or of Aunt June settling into a routine without Uncle Bob.
It’s not just the fragrance of these old memories, family who are gone but not forgotten, that make me enjoy Lola. There is so much about her eighty six years that I will never know; but I know her now. She’s still an activist – she was part of the Women’s March in her town. She’s on the diversity committee in her independent living community. She volunteers, she exercises and walks every day…
…and that’s a beautiful thing.
This is part of the series February Beautiful.