The problem with a kid growing up and moving out isn’t just that you can’t get them inside and keep them safe when there’s a storm coming, or that you’re pretty damn sure they’re unprepared for the real world. Just like you were when you threw yourself out of your own parent’s home and were really excited for the next week or so, until things got really hairy.
The real problem is, they leave a lot of crap behind. In the case of this particular munchkin, she left almost EVERYTHING. The room she moved into was smaller. She took her mattress and a little table, her favorite tapestries and a few clothes. And now that I’m claiming the room that was once hers, I have a big mess on my hands.
I worked on the floor most of the day, boxing her crap and sweeping. I wasn’t looking forward to opening the closet door, but the closet wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected. There’s only one box left. A box of things left to her by her grandmother and great- grandmother, whom she never really knew.
Her father and I divorced when she was two. Well, that’s when the divorce was final, anyway. I won’t go into too much detail. I moved out of state with her and her siblings shortly thereafter. Of course, THAT story is far more complicated, too. Read previous posts. Anyway, her dad and his folks eventually moved to Arizona… well, he was all over three states for a while, I don’t know where he is anymore. Frankly I don’t care much. But his mother and grandmother settled in. I last heard from them at least a decade ago, when his older brother died. I sent his mom and grandma cards, talked to grandma on the phone a little.
My daughter talked to her great grandmother on the phone a few times, I’m not sure if she talked to her grandmother. Probably. They never saw much of each other after she was three.
I got a phone call from a guy named Russ a year ago. Grandma Judy had died, and he was sending my daughter a box of her things. I was thinking, a few heirlooms. Maybe jewelry and little things…
What she actually got confused me a bit.
Her purse, untouched, the way it was when she passed away. About seventeen dollars and a few coins in her wallet- her driver’s license, library card… the only thing that had been taken were the car keys from the key chain. Her cell phone. Even her long- johns. There was also a box of embroidered pillowcases and knitted potholders and things.
Great- grandma Dorothy died a few months ago. Another box came in the mail. It was the same deal- her purse, her glasses. An umbrella with puppies on it. A few hair pins.
I was thinking at first that Russ (Judy’s significant other) just hadn’t known what to do with all their stuff, and there was no family around to help him. So he’d shipped it all to the only (available- I won’t go into detail there, either) family she had.
Then I poked around a little and noticed some things. Little notes with items about what keychain Judy used. A picture of a humble little house with a scrawled message: “This was your grandmother’s house.”
I think he really wanted my daughter to know something about the family she never knew, to know them a little better although they were gone. He took extra effort to write those notes, to let her know that these people, were her people. He did his best to keep their memories and histories intact.
For someone who wasn’t related to her, he sure went out of his way. It shows how much he cared about Judy and her mother, and my daughter, as their granddaughter in a distant world. He built bridges for no benefit of his own, but for a teenage girl he didn’t even know.
All I can think of to say is, what a cool guy.
And yeah.. it still is kinda weird…
And I’ll put this box somewhere safe until I can get her a hope chest for all the pretty embroidery.
(Then I get to shampoo the carpets. Yeehaw.)
November 27 2012 03:42 pm | Uncategorized