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4 kittens

Feathery ice on the window

Posted on 2017.01.09 at 15:44
"Two words," said a guy on the plane, in first class, "I'll tell you two words."
I paused to eavesdrop on the two words, as I walked down the aisle of the plane. Hawaii and I flew home on Sunday from Wisconsin. She and I had a special just-the-two-of-us trip.

Tell you what - I'll wait to tell you his two special words until the end of this blog post. It'll be a fun game we play! I'm withholding!

I'm trying to be artistic in this photo with the feathery ice on the window.

This trip was the companion trip to Pokey's and my special trip last summer.  Thursday night I was trying to figure out what to pack Hawaii for breakfast - what if nothing in the airport were open for our 6 am flight?  "Mom?" asked Hawaii, "Could you wake me up when you wake up, instead of waiting, so that I have time to eat breakfast?"  Sometimes it's weird how grown up she is. So I woke her up at 3:45 am on Friday morning.

She jabbered with excitement for roughly the next two hours, she was so giddy. My favorite chatter was when she was categorizing who was an old lady and who wasn't. She told me that I wasn't one, and then said, "Aunt C isn't old, but she is a lady."

I feel like I said my real goodbye to Grandma last year, and so this was more of a yearly pilgrimage. I still got choked up and emotional, but I don't feel the need to record here every last word she said. She's smaller, frailer, and 99 years old, and gives the impression of a music box that is slowing to a stop. She mostly dozes, but her greetings are estatic and thrilled - she'll tell you she loves you more than the moon and the stars, she'll marvel over how beautiful you are and how good the world is. That sort of thing. Then she recedes, and then a few minutes later she resumes.

My uncle made this light, which always hung over the dining room table in her house.

Well okay, I'll transcribe some dialogue after all. One week ago, the staff called my uncle because my grandmother was, uncharacteristically, sobbing and upset and inconsolable. He headed over. She sobbed for awhile, and then finally said this:
"Love is such a sweet sorrow," which is a misquote, of course, of Shakespeare's line about parting, but is still true in and of itself. Then she said, "Some sorrows are simple, like grief or bereavement." She speaks very slowly these days. "Other sorrows are complicated, like regret or cross words."

My uncle said that she stayed on this topic for a little while, and used the phrase "cross words" more than once. He did not probe to see if she was thinking of any occasion in particular. My grandmother, in the past, had an amazing knack for doling out unsolicited, hurtful, relentless advice. This may have been the first time she's ever possibly contemplated it. Even if it wasn't, it still feels like she's channeling something profound.

She is resting under that light that my uncle made.

On a different recent occasion, she asked him to explain gravity to her. So there are indications that she is pondering, thinking, turning things over, still.

Each year when I visit her, I find it excruciating to kiss her goodbye and walk out the door. It feels so final, because each year, it probably is.

It was about 5° F out when I took that photo of Hawaii on the bridge. We walked back from my Grandma's to my uncle's house. My toes were totally numb.


My cousin was in town with her little baby. They had this vaguely Indian youtube channel of children's songs, including:

Johnny, Johnny.
Yes, papa?
Eating sugar?
No, papa!
Telling lies?
No, papa!
Open your mouth -
ha ha ha!

The family gathers around when Johnny opens his mouth and it is, in fact, full of sugar, and that he was lying through his sugary teeth. Then they all laugh at him.


On January 5th, I got a TimeHop notification from Facebook of this photo of Hawaii:

from January 5th, exactly four years ago.  I'm very pregnant with Ace in that photo. Hawaii's velvet dress in that photo is now Ace's very favorite dress, which Ace calls her Cinderella dress. And in fact, Ace was wearing that dress on January 5th, exactly 4 years apart. I had myself a sniffly moment.

(Neither of those are from January 5th, but Ace wears this dress a lot.)


Pokey lost his first tooth!

Then he lost one of the two quarters he got.

Jammies did not lose a tooth!


It sounds like the neighbors are moving away. Their stuff is still here, but the kids missed school all last week, so I assume they're moving back home, closer to family. (The five year old, Jessica, told me they gave their kitten away.)

Mostly I'll miss them. The kids were really sweet and nice, and I liked having kids next door to draw our kids outside. Sometimes it was a bit surreal to look up and realize that I was supervising nine children in my living room.

On Saturday, I went to visit my Grandma, and Hawaii stayed behind at my uncle's house. When I came home, she showed me this book:

Food, a children's book by Hawaii Geebie

Pizza at a pizza party, with all of your friends.
Doughnuts at your birthday, the fun never ends.

Chocolate for when Grandma is in town, even though it isn't necessary.
Pickles are a sour treat, you should save them for a fairy.

Bananas for breakfast
Oranges for a snack
Noodles for lunchtime
Tacos for a dinner stack.  And...

Ice cream for dessert!
You ate so much food today, you're now a food expert.

1. I really like how she slowed the pacing in half, for the third stanza. How did she know to do that?
2. The picture of a taco: I'm not sure Hawaii has ever seen a hard shell taco like that in real life. All our tacos are soft tacos, wrapped up like teeny burritos. She's drawing the collective unconsciousness's taco there, not her own.

Lounging on the escalator.


Ok fine, you read to the end. Do you still want to know the two words from the plane?

"Grand Rapids!!" he said, "Isn't that perfect?"


Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2017-01-10 00:34 (UTC) (Link)

Finally! A Post!

Those were not the two words I was expecting.

Love the two iterations of the velvet dresses. And the Hawaii's book -- that's excellent.
heebie_geebie at 2017-01-17 03:56 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Finally! A Post!

I wasn't expecting those words, either! Next time I will be.

And thank you, and thank you.

And I'm sure you guessed this week's edition is also a day late, but I blame the Reverend Doctor MLK.
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