First I had to come up with a guest list – something he was of no help with. At the beginning of the week he told me the only person he wanted at his party was Naveen. I didn’t point out the obvious – that his baby brother would most likely always be at his parties, even those years he might not be welcome. But finally after sitting with his class picture, naming each classmate, we came up with a list. Next, I typed up a special note in tiny font to go into the invitations, printed those off, cut them small enough to fit inside the cards. And then I filled in the party details, sealed the envelopes and stuck them in his backpack with a note to his teachers.
It was my whole evening.
It made me think a lot on parenting. How it can be such a thankless job. I thought about how usually it only becomes a hot topic when it’s done badly. But good-enough parenting? It rarely gets an honorable mention. I was in one of those moods last night.
I was thinking about Iris Bride.
Shaune calls her Gramma Mac. On Wednesday morning before work he drove the half hour outside the city to sit with her. He held her hand and stroked her hair, whispered things to her. He said I love you Gramma. You have been a wonderful Gramma to me all these years.
And in his own way, he prayed that God scoop her up right then, take her Home.
She’d been taken off of life support at the beginning of the week, dosed just enough to be considered comfortable. And yet she hovers here, ashen, weak, with no will of her own, just waiting. We mourned her last night, my husband and I. We wondered how it could come down to these last few days, these terrible grim days of waiting.
People had warned Shaune of her state, reminded him that this was not how he should remember his Grandmother. They told him that she’d been muttering things not usually in her nature, that she might not look like the woman he knew. But after he’d sat with her for those hours, kissed her sallow cheek, he told me that it wasn’t true.
This too is Gramma, he said. Maybe not the way we are comfortable knowing her, but this is what she is like at the end of her life.
She turned 93 this year, birthed seven babies, met her great-grandchildren. It’s easy to say ahh but she lived a full life. Knowing she’s laying there, in the Home, tubes up her nose, waiting; these words get caught.
I pray for your eternal peace, Bride.
Deaglan on Gramma Mac's knee on her 90th birthday.