I took Lorrie to visit my grandmother, Anna Leigh, yesterday. I have to hand it to gramma. Even as moody as Lorrie can sometimes get due to puberty setting in, my grandmother has always been able to soothe her and help her feel good about herself.
We had a wonderful visit, and during part of it, my grandmother took Lorrie into the bedroom and asked her to pull a trunk out of her closet. It was a trunk filled with mementos that my grandmother had decided to keep when we packed up her house for the move to her new condo. I heard them rummaging around while I texted Lex to tell her that I was thinking very sexy thoughts of her and hoped she wouldn’t be too tired that night for me to share my thoughts with her.
I got a “thumbs up” and a “Sure thing, sexy pants” in reply. My lascivious thoughts of my wife were interrupted by, “Hey, mom! Look what Gramma gave me!”
I looked up into the sweetest smile that my grandmother reserved for those she truly loved and beamed before trying to focus on the book Lorrie was waving in front of me.
“It’s Gramma’s diary, momma. She said I could have it.”
“Yes, dearest. I remember writing in that diary when I was about Lorrie’s age. I thought she might like to see what it was like when I was growing up.”
Lorrie went over to an overstuffed Queen Anne chair, plopped down, and began to read.
Our visit ended when it was time to pick Eddie up from daycare and head back to the ranch.
As she hugged her great-grandmother goodbye, I heard my grandmother say, “I think you’ll find that you and I are especially alike.”
The trip home was quiet. Eddie fell asleep in his car seat and Lorrie continued to read Anna Leigh Cauble’s words from long ago.
The next few hours passed by uneventfully and I forgot about the diary until Mel came into the kitchen and told me that Lorrie was upstairs crying and wouldn’t tell her what the matter was.
I quickly went upstairs and found Lorrie hugging her pillow and crying her eyes out. She handed me the book and showed me what she had been reading.
“She knows how I feel. She felt that way, too.” Lorrie blew her nose on a tissue I’d just handed her right before I sat down next to her and picked up the book.
The passage read:
Why do things have to change? My best friend, Susan, says she’s too busy to do things with me anymore. We used to everything together, and now she says she’s too busy to go to the record store, or out walking, or anything with me. She only does things with William Stokes. She always has time for William. It’s Valentine’s Day, and she is all crazy about the Hershey bar William gave her and his cheap paper Valentine card. It makes me so mad.
I got in trouble for sassing my momma today. I can’t believe I stood there in the kitchen door and shouted ‘No!’ when she told me to clean my room. I didn’t want to do it right then. Boy, did I get in trouble. I wanted to go for a walk and see if maybe, since Valentine’s Day was over, maybe Susan would visit with me. Instead, I’m stuck in my room, cleaning it for the next two weeks while I’m grounded.
My grandpa died last night. It was horrible. He was just sitting down in their parlor, reading the newspaper and he nodded off. My grandmother realized something was wrong when he dropped the paper and his glasses on the floor and slumped over.
I loved grandpa. He was the best man I think I’ll ever know. I love my parents, but grandpa always had time for me. He listened to me and tried to make me feel better when I hurt. Or when I just wanted to talk and no one else would pay attention to me.
I feel so bad. I’ve lost my best friend and now I’ve lost grandpa. I tried to give grandma a hug, but she didn’t want that. She just said, “I guess it was his time,” and everyone nodded and waited for her to say or do something else.
I used to think about growing up and how great it would be. Now I just don’t feel good a lot of the time. I get angry. At my mom. My dad. My sister. I don’t like the changes in my body and in my life. Why can’t I be happy like I was a year ago? Before this. Before everything and everyone started changing?
By the time I read the last few words, I was in tears, too. Lorrie and I shared her box of tissues while she snuggled in my arms and cried. I kissed her head and rubbed her back. Neither of us spoke for a long time.
Then, Lorrie pulled back and looked up at me. “Grandma felt like I do sometimes, mommy.” I nodded my agreement. “But she always seems happy to me, now. When grandpa died, she said that she had years of great memories to keep her warm for the rest of her life. But after a few months, she seemed just the same as before.”
“Lorrie, I’ve always known her to be the person you’ve known since you were born. But I remember when I was your age, and I was angry at everyone, and my emotions were all over the place. When my parents sent me to visit my grandparents for the summer, it was the best thing to happen. She listened to me, and so did Grandpa Jacob. I never would be the person I am now without them.”
“Momma listens to me.”
“Yes, she does.”
“I’m way luckier than Grandma ‘cause I have you and Momma and Grandma to talk to. I’m sorry I was so mean to Momma before. Aunt Shelby told me how lucky I am and I’m glad I listened to her.”
We didn’t say much more to each other. We just held each other and sniffled until I heard Eddie fussing at Melanie about something.
When Lex came home that evening, after she kissed me, Lorrie threw herself in Lex’s arms and said, “I love you, momma.”
Lex hugged her back. “I love you, too. Want to go help me wash up?”
Off they went.
I’m one damn lucky woman.