I just returned from spending 3 days with my Grandmother, Nan.
Nan and her 2 Sisters at her 80th Birthday Party in Nov. 2008
She is 80 1/2 years old; because at this point, 1/2 years are milestones too. I keep trying to get her to promise me that she'll live to 100, but she just won't commit - I can't imagine why.
My 3 days was spent helping her out as she recovered from the latest round of surgery. In 5 1/2 years (since my Pap passed away), she's had 2 hips replaced, a knee replaced, her gall bladder removed, a cataract fixed, a major abdominal surgery to repair hernia's and scar tissue wrapped around her intestines (TMI?), and finally, this latest surgery to close the wound left open from the major abdominal surgery (since August 2008).
She has a 15 1/2 inch scar from her sternum to her privates - her words - it's kinda cute to see her blush a lil every time she describes it, which happens each time someone new calls or stops in to check on her.
But more importantly, these 3 days gave us a chance to hang out. We went to the doctor for a follow-up check-up, but stopped at Panera for lunch on our way and frozen custard on our way home. She had visitors and phone calls. We slept in, ate lunch late, and dinner too. We laughed. We bickered (that's what we Italians do). We watched Moonstruck and ate junk food way too late at night. We went to the bank so she could have more cash on hand - since she can't drive anywhere, she's obviously expecting lots of expenses in her house the next couple of days, hehe. We got her a new TracFone - because every 80-year old needs a good cell phone plan that she doesn't have to pay $32/month to not use. She asked for lessons on her computer so she could check her email and go to all those websites the store clerks ask her to visit to report on their service. We made some of our favorite foods for dinners. We sat on the porch and chatted. She gave directions and I followed as well as I good, knowing that it was killing her that she couldn't do it all herself. We hugged each other long and tight, and tears welled in both our eyes when it was time to say 'see you later.'
Through all this, it was hard to remember that this woman, who I had to REMIND to please not bend over; please don't pick up anything over 5 lbs; please relax and let me serve your guests; etc, etc, etc is NOT the 60-year old Nan from growing up. She's 80. I'm 30. I'm so blessed to have a Nan around at 30 years of age. I'm so blessed to have an 80 year old Nan who still thinks, acts, and talks like she's 60 - and pushes her body to the limits too.
The past 3 days were some of the best of my life. I am so blessed I lived close enough to offer to be the one to take care of her. I am so blessed I have a job I can take with me on the road. I am so blessed to have a Nan who is 80, and going strong. And I'm still crossing my fingers for 20 more years!