Sunday, February 22, 2009

It all Matters, Even TV

Grandma Gillespie was a semi-invalid curmudgeon, and in my senior year of high school, she moved in with us. Mom and my stepdad had started a restaurant business which kept them busy until late into the night.  So grandma's care, from the time I got home from school until she went to bed, was left to me, the obstinate teenager. My twelve year-old brother Johnny was trapped in the crossfire.

Grandma hated having to be cared for and she hated moving away from her lifetime home in North Carolina.  Her daily gloom infected Johnny and me, so our days were a series of scowling contests. The TV show The Jeffersons saved our lives.  

We all liked to watch the show and I liked to make Johnny laugh, so I bopped around the den singing that upbeat Jefferson’s theme song into my hairbrush microphone.  Mid-dance, I caught my grandmother,  doubled over laughing.   Eyes squeezed shut, tears rolling, laughing.  In that moment, everything slowed down and I could hear my own heart beating.  I saw that she was no crabby old woman who hated life—she was just a girl who was sad who wanted to laugh, too.  

I realized attitude meant everything and when I changed mine, she changed hers. The three of us laughed regularly after that.  I've never regretted that change of heart and Grandma's last year with us at home in Charleston was one of our best.


SoulCollage Card by LoLaSuzanne (photographs originally from Nat'l Geographic Magazine)


Barb said...

This is one of the best things you're written.

Schmutzie said...

You are being featured on Five Star Friday!

juliejulie said...

I had a crumdgeon granny too, but I could make her giggle, even on her death bed. And I still laugh when I think of her giggle, even now. Thanks for this story.

Tubo Family said...

What a great combination of heart-rending and uplifting. Came here from Five Star Friday.

LoLa said...

Schumutzie! Five Star Friday! Yesterday was my birthday so this was a nice present! Thank you.

JulieJulie: That giggling is a lifesaver. You made me remember some other big laugh moments. Thanks.

Tubo Family, Thanks for visiting. Your positive words lift a girl up!

S, JJ, TF: love to have one of your change of heart stories. Take a look at the top right of this page to submit.

Elspeth said...

Simple acts, huge effects. Moving.