My 5-year-old granddaughter, Brianna, looks at me across the breakfast table. We have glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice from her father’s trees and pumpkin pancakes with chocolate chips. I cut hers into tiny pieces and watch her take one bite with a big “ummmmm” then she rolls her eyes to show her delight.
It isn’t as if food isn’t plentiful. It is the morning after Thanksgiving and our table was full of all the traditional foods that most of you also enjoyed. I look her in the eyes and address her quietly, “Brianna, can we have a deep conversation?” She nods and looks at me as if I hold the answers to the universe and even more. I am the Nannie so I must know all the answers.
My visits bring magic, of course. If they open my suitcase at the airport they will wonder what kind of traveler I am. Instead of clothes and toiletries, there are puppets and books and music for the ukulele. I am a mixture of Mary Poppins and the tooth fairy. The two girls, Holly and Brianna, unpack for me when I arrive in Arizona. Goldilocks goes on my bed waiting for stories, the books also get stacked high waiting for bedtime, and the music goes on the nightstand waiting for band practice. The three of us are a band announces Holly, “The Star Band!”
This trip is a gift to me, and I embrace it with much gratefulness.
These things I want to tell her, but she is too young so I tell you instead. I view life through a pair of rose colored glasses. I do. As far back as I can remember my imagination has led my pathway. My first recollection of that was up high in the neighbor’s cherry tree. We were 9 or 10 years old and climbed high enough to see the world (or at least the roof line). I have lots of young memories, but this one is vivid. High up in the tree the world was so beautiful, young and fresh. Of course, Roger fell out of the tree while I was examining the depth of the universe and broke his arm. Somehow that did not daunt my view of the world, perhaps because it was his arm not mine!
As the years passed this view became stronger to me … college, marriage, the farm years. The farm was where we all grew up and learned to spread our wings, but we did so with stories by lamplight, wagon rides in the full moon and gardens of plenty. Of course, I always fail to mention the difficulties of raising three boys without modern benefits for the first couple of years … running water and electricity. I fail to mention the long, deep crying in the corn fields over all the hardships.
The past two years have been difficult ones for my family. There have been changes and hardships. These changes have once again sent me to the Indiana cornfields to shed tears. I have accepted these changes with a mending broken heart while keeping the rose-colored glasses on top of my head … ready to use at any and every moment. Accepting the fact that everything changes is a good thing to know. It is also good to have an open heart for these changes, and while nothing will ever be the way it was, it will be different, and different is OK.
I look at Brianna on this morning at the breakfast table. Her eyes are so clear and her sweet young mind so innocent. At the Thanksgiving table she said that she didn’t remember Thanksgiving. I was amazed at that statement. There have been so many events in her young life, and she doesn’t remember Thanksgiving at my house with noise and laughter and cousins.
My mind wanders, yet her gaze is intent on my face. She is waiting for the deep conversation. Once I had this talk with Matthew about the deep stuff. When I was finished I asked him if he understood. He nodded and said, “Someday you won’t be here, Nannie, so I need to remember.”
I say to Brianna, “Do you know how much I love you? Do you know that I want you to always sing under the moon? Do you know you are always welcome at the purple house?”
She looks at me with eyes that can see through to my soul. “I know, Nannie, I know.”