(i’ll explain the pose tomorrow.) (or the next day.)

laughter. that’s the language we spoke today. not just those silly giggles, but good old-fashioned bely laughs. the infectious kind of laughs to which no one is immune.

it’s been a day filled with moments i wish i could just freeze and capture – put in a jar somehow so i could pull them out on the days when i need a good laugh, a good memory. (maybe there’s an iphone app for that?)

there are 3 generations here, the idea is for my mother to enjoy a week with her 3 grandchildren with me along as . . . for . . . well, i’m just here. we’re one day into the plan, and so far, so good.

on the day spent with my cousin last week, it was memories of grandmother that segued from one topic to another. our favorite shared memory is how grandmother leapt out of her reserved demeanor every new year’s day. she’s sit in that god-awful piece of furniture under the telephone (i swear, it looked like some cheap souvenir one of the kids picked up for her at a roadside stuckey’s and brought home to prove to her they were, too, thinking about her while on vacation), going down the list of children and grandchildren:

she dialed.
ring-ring. ring-ring.
“hello?” answered the callee on the other end.
“is this 1-9-8-2? (or whatever the year was)” she’d ask, barely able to squelch her laughter before committing the unpardonable sin of hanging up without even saying bye.

it’s become one of our favorite shared annual rituals now, my cousin and i racing to see who can call the other one first thing on new year’s day, wishing we could be like her in more ways than this.

a friend once revealed that she wanted to adopt her granddaughter, and even though she didn’t ask my opinion or even my thoughts on the matter, i put on my best maxine-self and blurted ahead anyway about what a dang fool thing that would be, depriving that adorable child of an invaluable resource: her grandmother.

grandmothers play such an important role in a grandchild’s life. grandmothers don’t need glasses to see the best in each grandchild. grandmothers don’t need letters after their names to teach their grandchildren the most important things in life.

it was my paternal great-grandmother who taught me to like potatoes and cornbread. mimi lived in the cutest, most adorable house-for-one built especially for her by my daddy and his brother, gene. mimi took in sewing to create grocery and pin money. one of my most treasured possessions is the doll dress she made for one of my babies, all of it stitched by hand.

my maternal grandmother made quilts – one for each child and grandchild. these were everyday quilts – we used them for picnicking on the beach, for protecting precious cargo during moves, and mostly for comforting us when sick. several years ago, i held a family reunion and asked that everybody bring their quilts made by grandmother. my backyard was filled with boisterous relatives, and when the first quilt was taken to the edge of the woods and held up by its owners, a hushed awe filled the air. “she really was an artist,” someone said as we all took in the quilts – one by one – from afar.

distance is important to perspective – there’s no doubt about that. this week we’ve reduced the geographical distance, coming together to laugh the days away. we’ll spend the week creating memories that will grow soft around the edges with time, while comforting and warming us for a long, long time. it’s what i call a dream vacation.

(especially if we all come out of it alive.) (i’m just sayin’ . . .)