I twirl the ring on my right hand. I used to study my Grandmother’s wedding ring on her left hand, and make wishes on it. These days I wear another ring of hers, and I twirl it when I’m nervous or happy or anything.
I twirl it when I need her. And she comes through.
When I’m sad, I eat. Most Sunday and Wednesday nights of my childhood were spent at my Nana’s kitchen table with her saying ‘Do you have enough food? Push your glass back from the edge of the table. Have another meatball.’
There was no grace, but there was gravy.
So, when I’m sad now, I eat. I seek out the food my Nana used to make, but nothing is as good.
I had a complicated relationship with religion, but my Grandmothers were my Gods. I looked to them for different things, but mostly everything.
‘How’d I do?
My safety was on Grandma’s couch and sitting in Nana’s kitchen. Those places are in my heart now, but I pray to those people. And they come through.
‘What do I do?’
Not that. Maybe this…
‘Send me a sign.’
Is this big enough?
‘Should I get a tattoo?’
Only if we’re in it.
I tell my friends that when people we love die, they just move into our hearts.
My grandmothers were my best friends and my truth-tellers. I wish they were here sitting with me, and I still check in with them. But the answers to my questions come through differently. Like a new opportunity, a Judy Garland song on a random Tuesday, my daughter’s laugh.
They were with me I got married. When the car was late, which gave me a chance to collect myself. When I put the ring on my husband’s finger and said aloud ‘It fits!’
When my daughter was born, and the first thing I said to her was ‘Oh, you’ve been here before!’ I was marveling at her and thanking them for her life.
When I need them in the every day, which even as a 30-something wife and mother is every day, I write to them. Everything I’ve ever written is a love letter to them, a prayer to them.
But a prayer is also a cup of coffee, stirring seven times, and clinking the spoon on the mug. It’s smelling their perfume, sometimes out of nowhere. It’s going to a yarn store just to touch it, even though I don’t knit. But Nana did.
A prayer is watching The Golden Girls.
A prayer is a road trip, thinking of them in the backseat.
And my prayer is that they remember me, wherever they are. They still see me as I am. Or as they think I am. And even though I’m confused sometimes, and I swear a lot, they are proud of me. That they know what I’m doing even when I don’t.
And they know that I am grateful.
If they see me through this week, this year, this anything, maybe I’ll get that tattoo with their initials somewhere I can see them. But maybe not, because they’re always with me, anyway.