Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bridge Club

I am purging. I am shedding. I am getting rid of stuff that has followed me around for many many years. I have my stuff, my kid's stuff and some of my parent's too. It's normal for a woman my age. My kids are helping and their more modern attitude of shredding and pitching is an obvious result of one fact: their parents did NOT grow up during the depression. Mine did.

This process has had many hilarious moments. "Mom? Really?" I have heard it over and over. going through these things has also stirred up some wonderful memories, those tenacious thoughts that are velcro-ed to old stuff long packed in a box, away from everyday life and attention. It's interesting how the most common items can bring a flood of laughter, tears and stories. And it fascinates me how many common household items are now unrecognizable to the next generation. Times change.

"Mom, are you keeping these? They weigh a TON! Why would you ever need them?" The card table. A simple device, it quickly becomes the child's table at a big family dinner, (and I did come from a big family, all those cousins...double cousins too!) Set up in the kitchen, it makes a great surface for drying those delicious noodles that only a mother can make, or a perfect place to create that watercolor or other work of art on a rainy afternoon. (Resourceful mother) Sales table at rummage sale, I can go on an on. But this middle age woman 's memories ran straight to the chief purpose and name sake for this piece in the storage room, Bridge Club.

My mother played bridge. Like thousands of other women her age, in her time, she belonged to a card club. They took turns entertaining their friends, round robin-ing their visits to each other's houses, dressed to the nines and ready to win. I simply loved the nights my mother had bridge club. I looked forward to it and I committed each night to memory. These ladies seemed so sophisticated and chic. They wore hats, they drank cocktails and some of them even smoked! I was named after one of them. It was sublime. My little sister and I would hide at the top of the stairs and watch this social event until we were forced to go to bed. I would silently pray that they did not eat all the bridge mix and salted mixed nuts. They would gently stir their mixed drinks with colorful swizzle sticks and decide what to bid. It was a place in time, an institution, and I loved it as much as my mother. I remember.

"But Mom! Really! They weigh a TON!" Happily, our memories only weigh on our hearts. We can carry them with us and they won't take up much room. Those same swizzle sticks sit on the wet bar in my kitchen. I look at them and smile. And the card tables? My own card tables I have carried for 30 plus years? I'm not getting rid of them just yet. I might need them. You just never know.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Nana Club

April 1st I joined the Nana Club. My first grandchild was born that day. His birth date was appropriate; he was not due for 12 more days and I had planned my show season remembering that neither of MY babies were born on time let alone early! My daughter called the day before, kinda stammering around that maybe these contractions meant something. I packed my bag. I kept working. Later, when she called and said they were going to the hospital, "just in case..." I put the bag in the van. I was pacing when my son-in-law called and said "It's a go!" I drove off and my life has never been the same.

I met this little fella when he was 20 minutes old. He looked around, he looked adorable. I totally fell in love the first time I saw him. He was tiny, but a complete replica of his Daddy. And he was my first grandchild. Bliss. They brought him home and I was fortunate enough to be asked to help settle them in. It was a Nana's dream, helping her daughter embrace the most important and wonderful task of her life.

Back home, my friends welcomed me into the Club. The queen of babies, friend Deb took me out for dinner to a perfect lady's place and introduced me to online photo albums and modern breast feeding stuff and all the upcoming joys of my new station in life. Older sister and my original teacher about babies, Patti filled me with wisdom and brought back memories of our babies together so many years ago. Naturalist and earth mother friend Maria delighted me with anecdotes about her own new grand daughter as we virtually danced about the computer with our delight! More friends poured out of the woodwork with their good wishes and over and over said the words "There is nothing like it..."

It continues to be wonderful. I accompanied my grandson and his mommy to the Nature Center at their state park last Friday. He is old enough now at almost 4 months to decide what he likes and is interested in. He bounced and stared and cooed over the squirrels at the bird feeder and in the pictures in the exhibits. His eyes and head followed the turtle as it swam back and forth in its little tank. And he bravely looked out through a porthole in the shipwreck exhibit as if to see his future unfold. That was in my mind anyway, because I am a Nana.

I watched him an entire day by myself while his mommy ran the market in town. We played, we cuddled. We had bottles and we burped. We laughed and we made plans. We talked about plants and leaves and felt bark for the first time. We found our first cicada shell. And we vowed to teach each other every single thing we know. It was a wonderful, simple, normal day, but I will never forget it.

About 4 months ago I joined the Nana Club. And you know what? There's nothing like it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Grandson

Trips to the dunes must inspire me. a year ago, I saw this canoe in the early stages of completion, while touring the Nature Center in the middle of its renovation. Six months ago I visited during the cold cold winter and happily anticipated the birth of my first grandson. Needless to say, I have made a bazillion trips up here to see him since he was born on April Fool's Day! Time to write again...a lot has happened in the last year.

Today, my daughter and I took Asher to see that Nature Center, all finished and remodeled and receiving company. We marveled at the exhibits and I carried him around and showed him each one and told him how they were not ready a year ago! I was very interested in canoes last year at this time, and look at us here, sitting in that very birch bark canoe that we first saw a last summer, half covered in tarps in expectation of display for children just like him.

Asher is interested in everything. He particularly loves animals and pictures of them. Today at the Nature Center we saw the squirrels outside at the bird feeder and then a picture of one on an exhibit. I held him up to the turtle cage, he peeked at garden snakes. We climbed around on the exhibit that explains ship wrecks and we even let him peek through a porthole. I firmly believe that he enjoyed it as much as his mommy and I did. Seeing the world through his excited and curious eyes is beyond description. Having a little one to take places like this and show the wonders of this beautiful earth is a precious gift. His mommy grew up in wonderlands like this, in state park after state park. And so did his Nana. My Dad took us and engendered a love of nature and its exploration that still fills my soul with sweetness. I will be sure that my grandson is similarly blessed.