My mama has gone to Jackson, Mississippi to visit her brother and her mother, well her step-mother. Mama’s mother died when she was 5. Granny Ruth married her father and raised her, gave her a couple more siblings, and lots of love. She wasn’t a cook as far as I know though many of the vintage cookbooks I have in my home are inscribed from her–given as gifts to my mother.
I haven’t seen Granny Ruth in person since I was a child. I grew up far away from her. Once my great-grandmother passed away, we didn’t vacation in the south anymore. Granny Ruth remarried after being widowed when I was tiny. And, I just haven’t ever headed to Jackson as an adult.
It is sad and I didn’t really think about how sad it was until today. I had Nini-my great grandmother. I’ve blogged a lot about her. I had Granny Fanny and I have blogged about her too. When I got married I was absorbed into my husband’s amazing extended family–mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, cousins out the ears family.
Then we divorced and Denise and I became a couple. That gave me her parents and siblings and HER ex-husbands parents, siblings, and children. (aka the in-laws squared.) So, while I’ve at time to time in my life been sad I didn’t have the giant family gatherings with cousins who all know my name but I don’t know theirs…I just don’t think on it a lot.
My mother landed. Her brother and his partner (the fantastic Mary that I have gotten to know on Facebook) picked her up at the airport.
Then I heard Denise from the other room. “Awwwww It’s a picture of Mama and Granny Ruth.” I knew it had to be heart-stopping because Denise doesn’t usually call Mama “Mama.” Your mother, Momal, Allen. And so I fetched myself to Facebook and it was…it was a picture of the Granny Ruth in my memories and the Mama of my childhood. But it was taken today.
Those of you with parents you are caregivers for–you might understand what I mean. That Mama of childhood. The one who was tall and mothered, fussed, cooked, and stayed up sewing, putting together homeroom folders, baking cupcakes for the school. The one who worked and drove you everywhere instead of the other way around. The one who answered questions at the doctor and filled out the forms. The one you could call and say your best friend was the most horrible person ever or you were pregnant or what should I do about Christmas for the baby? Or listened when you thought that you weren’t going to survive raising your own children. That’s the Mama in this picture.
And Granny Ruth? She really does look just like she did when I was in elementary school. And I realized that I want to know her better. I remembered the times visiting my Aunt Donna when I was a child. I would run wild with my cousins, who were about the same age. And there was Granny Ruth, smiling, proper, a southern Grandma to be proud of…How do you get to know a grandmother when you are 44 and she’s 95 or so?