I sat across from her grey haired, tiny frame. She watched me as I centered the sifter over a bowl and squeezed the handle with abandon, a white plume applauding my efforts.
One cup…two cups…three cups.
“See how I take the knife and level off the flour? That’s why my cakes are perfect.” She would laugh A little sound really, for she wasn’t known to ever do anything in a big way. We cooked together some Sunday mornings. Pancakes, biscuits. Cookies.
And then I blinked and she couldn’t remember how much flour she had already poured...
“Always use pinking shears for cutting fabric. It keeps the edges from unraveling and NEVER EVER use them to cut paper.” Her bright blue eyes were sober...scissors were serious business. Her tiny fingers cut around the pattern, then sewed perfect seams- She made me clothes until I was about ten.
It’s then that I blinked. Her eyesight was fading and her hands would shake and she just couldn’t thread a needle any longer...
“You know, It is just as easy to marry a rich man as a poor man, and short stubby toes are the sign of royalty.” She would talk to me as I threaded buttons stored in an old cookie tin while she moved a yellow stepstool across the linoleum kitchen floor, cleaning, pulling out a spaghetti bowl, making sure the plastic wrapped sofa was clean.
I blinked and then she couldn’t walk without the help of my arm
And when I blinked again, she was gone
My daughter was born on what would have been her 90th birthday. A final gift that keeps her with me.
And now, my sons who were once my babies, have their own. Watching them, I know they will never be the same people they once were. It happened in a moment, during that tiny sliver of time between not being a parent and falling in love for the rest of your life with a squalling, squirming, messy, noisy little thing.
I find myself in the space my grandmother once held and I can only hope my grandchildren will remember...smiles, hugs, crochet hooks and silly songs, paints and pianos...
When they blink.