Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Grandma's Cards

Plenty of people I know are going to be a little fragile, come Thursday.
 It's a holiday fraught with pressure.
When I was first married - okay, honestly, for about the first ten years of marriage -
I was a sad sack on Valentine's Day.
I wanted more romance, more attention, more evidence that I was beloved.
And here he was, working to the end of his limit to support us all.
So now I'm more relaxed.
I still love a handmade card.
A little attention.
Maybe fresh tulips from Trader Joe's.

But what I think of most, when Valentine's Day approaches,
are the cards from my Grandma Ericson.
She was rather famous for them.
Her kitchen table was the repository for others' cards.
She recycled them into new missives.
Her beautiful handwriting graced the card and envelope,
and they appeared in our mailbox every birthday and holiday.
Thank goodness, I saved almost all of them.

Seeing her handwriting now,
I feel as if she's still here.
Still just a morning's drive away.

Here she is with my daughters, when the baby was two months old.
She would hold my babies for hours.

Grandpa died when I was four months pregnant with Isaac.
So when I think of Grandma and her love poured out on us,
she did all that as a widow.
The exact same years that I was complaining,
she was busy showing how much she loved us.

When Grandma died, five years ago,
I never thought we'd be having another baby.

I wish she could see this little guy.
I wish she was here to hold him, tell him old family stories,
and most of all, to pray for him.

She got such a kick out of his big brothers.
Isaac was 15 months here, and Caleb 6 weeks.
Once, when she had visited them, she wrote my parents,
"There's grist for the airform mill because I've seen the bunnies!"
(Airforms: the thin blue international letters that she and my other Grandma sent by the hundred).
 My folks were 3000 miles away and were starved for stories.

 Eyes wide open.
That's what we need this Valentine's Day.
Just to give the gifts that matter, that last, that feed the hungry heart.
I know this is a day that can feel like salt in a wound.

Maybe people should turn off the tv, look away from Pinterest,
and keep it very simple.

That's what my Grandma did.

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