Sometimes, life and the radio catches you off guard. I simultaneously love and hate when that happens. And last night, it happened.
I feel like I haven’t been overly emotional (some ups and downs, but overall) throughout the course of this pregnancy, but I’m sure that’ll change. And I don’t think last night had much to do with the other…at least initially.
I was driving along on the long, long, long stretch from St. Louis area to HOME and was thinking about, if I had a cute little shop, what I would want to call it and what it would look like and what sort of cute stuff I’d sell. This is a favorite hobby of mine when I’m driving along, awake and in my own little world all at once. So, I had thought I’d call my shop “Judith and George” at one point. It reminds me of the Alice & Olivia clothes line and I don’t know…and it’s my grandma and grandpa’s names. I think it could play out very chic and cool. But I haven’t been sold. I’m always about honoring them. And I’ll tell you why in just a minute…
So, yesterday I’m driving along and think about The Candy Tree (a story best saved for a different post, a shared secret amongst our family). And I think how COOL would that be? Call my cute little shop “The Candy Tree” or something of that iteration.
And then, I’m thinking of my Grandma and Grandpa. And I think, I wish she were alive, I’d call her about whatever else it was I’d begun thinking about, because she’d ‘get it’. But, she’s been gone almost five years now, so calling her was off limits.
Instead, she called me.
I was listening to The Coffee House on XM Radio. And, as I was missing her (like I do a lot, anyway), Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up the Sun” began playing. And man, it got me RIGHT THERE. Gut punch. I can’t describe the following scene, but this is what I remember from summer 2006, before she died.
Standing in the living room, in front of the TV/radio/CD player/record player and her dolphin sculpture and Frank (St. Francis of Assissi, always dressed for the season, over her right shoulder). She was wearing a jean skirt and a white t-shirt. And a hat, with a sunflower. And it was summer. It was the last truly beautiful, perfect summer on record since that time.
Sidenote: you have to understand that my Grandpa Jerry would always turn up the music LOUD…really LOUD…at about 7:30 a.m., with all 21 of us in the house, after a long night of partying (him included, most of the time). Typically it was Space Music or U2.
But that day…it was her, in the middle of the day, who popped in the Sheryl Crow CD and CRANKED it. And then, I was standing there, in the dining room, looking into the living room, from the perch two steps up from the dining room. And she was HAPPY. So was I. And she was smiling, and she was dancing, in that sunflower hat with the denim skirt. And her hips were swaying back and forth and her hands were moving, like she was climbing a ladder, but with fingers pointed, and yelling, singing along with the song.
The sun was shining outside, my grandpa’s flowers overflowing their hanging baskets. The lake was perfect and I don’t remember who else was there – I remember it as the two of us in my mind.
And we sang, and we smiled and LIVED.
Man, I MISS her.
I miss her as I’m writing this, choking on my own tears.
Last night I didn’t choke them back. Last night, I let them come. And I drove and cried and smiled and CRANKED that song and laughed through my tears and my missing her.
And it occurred to me, that I do NOT know anyone else like her. I mean, who out there has a grandma who cranks the music and dances in the living room? I started my life with four grandma’s, and none of the other three would do that. I’ve known a lot of people’s grandma’s — heck, a lot of people — who wouldn’t do that. I miss her so hard because, well, there’s no one else out there quite like her.
So I began to think — my Mom is like that too. She does that. If she can figure out how to work the stereo, she’ll crank her favorite song and do some little, silly hip swing, ladder climbing, fingers pointing dance with her head bobbing side to side, laughing with herself. Happy.I have a handful of girlfriends who are like this too — I’ve surrounded myself with the best kind of women, the kind who dance WITH people watching and aren’t embarrassed to do it. The kind who crank the tunes and teach their kids all the words to Carly Simon “You’re So Vain” by age 3.
And I decided last night — that’s the kind of Mom I’m going to be. I’m going to crank the music and dance, even if Jon or anyone else rolls their eyes. I’m going to pass that on, that not-caring who might be looking. I’m going to seek out more and other women who are like that, and surround myself with them.
I can’t believe that my child won’t know this awesome woman. That makes me sad. It makes me happy that she keeps finding me, though.
So now, I’m going to go Soak Up the Sun myself.
And cry the whole way through it.