Yesterday morning, at about 9:15, Bill and I opened the front door of our Denver home, and began watching for our ride to the airport. Our intention had been to call for an Uber, thereby not inconveniencing anybody on a busy Monday morning. Our daughter-in-law Jll caught wind of this and offered to drive us to the airport instead of waiting for a stranger in an unknown vehicle to pick us up. Well, if you put it that way….
We agreed upon 9:30, which was actually humorously early as our plane wasn’t leaving until 12:30. But you never know. People rushing somewhere in Atlanta the other day probably weren’t expecting that someone smoking crack underneath an overpass would light a chair on fire, thereby causing a section of a major Atlanta freeway to collapse. Jll is too nice to even come close to rolling her eyes, so if we said 9:30, she would be there at 9:30.
So at 9:15, there were Bill and I, with our suitcases neatly packed and ready to roll, and the house all closed up and ready for us to simply walk out and lock the door. But I must admit that the situation got me to thinking about my grandmother.
My grandfather passed away in 1969, and my mother and father sold the bakery five years later to move to Colorado. Seeings as my grandmother lived in an apartment above the bakery, she needed to move as well. Though I was 19 years old and away at college when my parents sold everything and moved to Colorado, I think I am safe in assuming that there was much discussion about what should happen to Grammie. At the end of the day, the final decision was that she would divide her time between her four kids – two of whom also lived in my home town of Columbus, Nebraska, and two of whom now lived in Colorado.
When I think back on that situation, it couldn’t have been easy for her. She had lived independently for nearly 50 years, and suddenly she was going to be relying on her children for her room and board. As far as I know, she never complained.
Eventually I left Nebraska and moved to Colorado, where I lived with my parents for a period of time. It’s kinda starting to sound crowded, isn’t it? But on a number of occasions, I would drive back to Nebraska to visit my friends and family who still lived there. I had my sporty 1969 Ford Mustang (read about it here) and I would hit I-80 and make it to Columbus in eight or nine hours. Very often, Grammie would go with me.
I was always amused about the fact that no matter what time I told her we would leave in the morning, when I got up and went out to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, there she would be, sitting in the front room with her coat on, her “pocketbook” on her lap, and her suitcase at her feet, ready to go. I actually got to the point where I would tell her we were going to leave a bit later than I actually planned, hoping she would sleep in a bit. Maybe it worked; maybe it didn’t. I don’t know because she was always sitting there when I arose.
So there I was yesterday morning, awaiting Jll’s arrival, and I was doing my own version of sitting in the front room with my pocketbook on my lap and my suitcase at my feet. And suddenly I realized why Grammie was always ready long before I was fixing to leave. SHE DIDN’T WANT TO INCONVENIENCE ME. The same reason that Bill and I were ready long before it was time for Jll to arrive.
Which tells me that there is a point in one’s life where you are aware that your children and grandchildren are busy and there is no obligation for them to drop everything they are doing and be at your beck and call. I’m sure when that point is exactly, but I know I’ve hit it.
But Grammie, if you read my blog in heaven, first of all, thank you, and second of all, it was an honor, never an obligation, to be your driver to Nebraska!
This post linked to Grammys Grid.