One that I haven’t marked off in far too long is one that makes the top of the list nearly every time. That “to do” is “Write Grandma E”—that is, my Grandma Exckhardt, my mother’s mother. Aside from the fact that I’ve run out of stationary for the first time in a decade, I don’t have one good reason to not mark this off the list every time. Especially since every time I do mark that off the list, and drop that letter in the mail, I feel really happy.
This evening, while on the phone with my dad, he rather politely reminded me of this neglect, hinting that maybe I hadn’t been in touch with Grandma recently, and that maybe, just maybe, that might hurt her feelings. My heart lurched as soon as I realized he was right: When was the last time I had written Grandma?
It’s been months.
When we got off the phone I paced around my kitchen for a minute, feeling awful. Should I call now? But no, it’s too late—I’ll probably just wake her up. Then I thought, I’ll write her a letter right now. I’ll mail it tomorrow; she should get it by Saturday.
This plan didn’t seem good enough, either, so I vowed to myself that I’d call tomorrow, either on my lunch break or as soon as I got home from work.
Whether your line of thought right now is either “Wow, calm down” or “Geez, can’t you even take the time to call your own grandmother?”—I don’t really blame you for either. On the one hand: Calm down. I can rectify this. On the other: Can’t I take the time to call my own grandmother?
I’m bad at keeping in touch. If it weren’t for Facebook and email, I’m sure plenty of people would forget I even exist. I’m that bad.
But: my grandma doesn’t use the Internet. She also doesn’t live in Chicago. She lives in Muncie, Indiana, and she and my grandpa spend the winters in Florida with my aunt. Hence, the importance of the letters or phone calls. Neither of which I’ve been doing.
You should know something about my Grandma E: She is thoughtful.
And when I say thoughtful, I mean thoughtful. One year I told her how good the birthday cake she made for my party was, and she made the exact same cake the following year. Based on one offhand comment! Because she knows how much I love devilled eggs—and hers in particular—she makes some every single time she knows she’s going to see me. Every time. Even if she’s not hosting the get together. She does it because she knows I love them. She has done this for years.
There’s nothing that’ll really make you feel worse than acting less than thoughtful to a person who is always thoughtful to you. Know what I mean?
But it’s more than that. Because there’s another thing you should know about my Grandma E: my mother adored her.
Well, duh—that’s her mother. But, whenever my mom talked about her, whenever my mom was around her, even as a kid, I could feel not only the love between them, but also the respect that my mother had for her. They had a special bond, perhaps not unlike the bond I felt with my mom.