There is so much joy in looking back at old photos or Facebook posts and seeing beautiful moments that past by between appointments, meetings, charity functions, chores and homework with your children.
I had a great grandmother, on my father’s side, that was very Victorian. She did not speak about her emotions, because it was forbidden in her youth. I would spend weekends with my grandmother to escape the poverty. My father was absent and my mother was a single mom raising three children on minimum wage, which I believe was less than $5 dollars an hour. Electricity and heat were things many had taken for granted by the eighties and nineties, but in my home it was rare.
I planned my weekend escapes with great precision like an Army General going taking on one battle at time trying to win a war. Once a month, I would stay with my grandmother and great grandmother. The other weekends were spent with my mother’s father, sleep overs with friends and babysitting for neighbors.
Back to my great grandmother, this adored beautiful, shy woman spoke seldom. I would sit beside my grandmother snacking on popcorn watching television while great grand would weep. She never made any noise, but yet tears would stream down her cheeks. She did this about 80% of her waking day.
My grandmother would get up between commercials to do quick tasks around the house. I would sneak over and pet my great grandmother’s hand. You see, this gorgeous woman being Victorian and all was not a hugger or touchy-feely woman. She was taught to be strong courageous and to express little true emotion. Great grand was kind to my simple gestures.
One weekend, while great gran was napping, I asked my grandmother, “Why does she cry?”
“She just does.”
“Why? What’s wrong?” I would ask.
My grandmother would not answer.
“She’s rich. She’s beautiful. She’s traveled and lived a beautiful life. What does she have to cry about?”
“You see. She has lived her life. She has been a daughter, wife, mother and grandmother. Now, she knows she has no purpose. That’s why she cries. She cries because the past was so beautiful and the future is no longer a place for her.”
I never understood those words until now. It is wisdom that has given me the gentle glimpse of how to appreciate the small tender moments and even the rushed chaotic ones too. I cherish them both, because for now I am grateful I get to live in the moments.