Raising a Blended Family

A boy and his great-grandma.

on March 6, 2013

We’re home again from our trip, and everything went swimmingly well. Pax was great on the plane both ways, had a blast visiting and meeting family, and enjoyed seeing my good friend’s nuptials.

But that’s not what sticks with me most about this trip.

Even before the trip, the one thing I was really excited about was for Pax to meet his great-grandma.  This woman holds a very, very special place in my heart- I was very close to her growing up, and actually lived with her for awhile.  I remember mornings filled with Winnie the Pooh movies and Cream of Wheat (lumpy, please), learning to play chess (she always won), watching her paint in her studio, and a rich rolling laugh that filled the air readily.  As I got older, there were card games (gin rummy preferred, Aces ALWAYS played high at her insistence) and more family time, and the growing awareness that my grandmother was no longer young.

The past few times I have seen her, age has caught up with her.  Though she is not yet in her seventies, COPD and a lifetime of heavy smoking have taken their toll, along with a series of ministrokes suffered a few years back. She is often disoriented and unsure of things, walks with difficulty and needs to be looked after. Sad as it makes me, she is no longer the robust woman I once knew and there is a growing awareness that time is running out.

Given all of this, I am so, so happy that Pax got to meet her. I had not seen her in years before this trip, because of such a  huge distance separating us. I do not know if he or I will ever see her again, because of age and the fact that it is hard for us to travel there and nearly impossible for her to travel at all… but for her to see him, hold him, and marvel at his red hair (she is the only red-head in the family, and has always hoped one of us would follow suit.  Pax’s hair currently has a red tint to it, though I didn’t have the heart to tell her it’s getting blonder by the minute)…. this meant the world to me (and to her, I suspect).  No matter what happens now, I have it on photo and video, her holding Pax and cooing to him, talking to him, playing with him. When Pax is older I will take out these pictures and show them to him.  As we go through the photos and watch the video and hear her amazing laugh on camera, I will be able say to him “Look, son. This is your great-grandmother and she was a remarkable woman.”

Thanks grandma, for the memories. I hope we see each other again!

First meetings

First meetings

A tale of two redheads

A tale of two redheads

With grandma and great-grandma

With grandma and great-grandma

A four-generation photo: Great-grandma, grandma, granchild and great-grandchild.

A four-generation photo: Great-grandma, grandma, granchild and great-grandchild.

Saying our goodbyes.  Love this woman.

Saying our goodbyes. Love this woman.


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