Sunday, May 8, 2011

Grandma Howard…

Everyone celebrates their Mom on Mother’s Day, but for me Mother’s Day always brings thoughts of Grandma Howard. Grandma Howard is one of the reasons I feel so lucky to have Jedd, she’s actually his grandmother. I didn’t really have much family growing up and one thing I missed out on was having a grandmother. Only one of my biological grandmother’s was alive while I have been and for whatever reason I just never heard from her. The few memories I have of her when I was younger are brief and I can’t say she took much interest in me.

Fast forward about 20 years and that would put you to my first meeting with Grandma Howard. Other than meeting Jedd’s mom, dad and sister I hadn’t met any of Jedd’s family until I met them all at his cousins wedding about a year after we had been dating. My race doesn’t usually come up anymore, but for some reason upon arriving in New Hampshire for the first time I suddenly was reduced to middle school Stephanie and I became increasingly self conscious of the fact that there were absolutely no black people (not true there are some) in New Hampshire. We then went to where the wedding was going to be, I think in Rhode Island and there weren’t any black people there. I started obsessing about the fact that Jedd had not told his extended family I was black (I know he hadn’t because I asked him and he acted like it was the most absurd questions ever). One of the reasons this was really alarming to me is because as most people know I have no relationship with my mother’s family because I’m black.

So anyway I get to the wedding and I meet Grandma Howard for the first time and her and her sister are quite charming. They both at the time had to be in their early 80’s and let me tell you these women are quick and really different from the other Grandmother’s I’m used to. Being black once it’s time to eat I become super alarmed because no one is fixing Grandma Howard a plate. This makes me distressed, I’m thinking OMG I can’t let her make her own plate, so I rush up to help her and Grandma Howard politely but firmly lets me know she can make her own plate. If you can cuss without cussing that’s basically what she did. From that point on I was fascinated by her. She’s quick and talks a lot of crap when she thinks no one is listening. She still drives, if you tell her she shouldn't do something that's exactly what she's going to do. Age hasn't kept her down, it's nothing but a number. At Christmas when everyone else is rushing around we chat, but we chat differently than you would think because I always hear her talking smack about how people assume she’s unable to do things. When I catch her talking her smack I give her a wink that says “I heard you” and she gives me a smile that says “yup I’m still here, I’m not just Grandma”.

Grandma Howard is also dear to me because she’s the grandmother I never had. She’s everything I dreamed a Grandmother would be while being so much more.  I’ve never received a Birthday card from a family member other than my parents. Every year for my birthday and Christmas guess what arrives in the mail, yup a card from Grandma Howard and just like you’d expect there’s a check in the card just like Grandmother’s do. So on Mother’s Day I just wanted to say Grandma Howard I hope your thinking of me because I am definitely thinking of you…”Happy Mother’s Day”!

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