Thursday, May 5, 2011

Letters from Nana

There is a long running joke in my family that wherever I go I leave something behind.  When I was little it was toys, clothes, backpacks and so on, now it is bottles, binkys, and bibs but the fact is I leave mementos of my visit wherever I go.  I remember my Nana getting so angry that "I didn't take better care of my things." This was after I left a very expensive doll on the school bus in first grade and it went missing.  I never really tried to NOT take care of my things but I guess I was hoping that if I left something behind I might get invited back, even if only to pick up my forgotten item. 

Over the years I got better at taking care of my things.  I know when something has value whether it is emotional or monetary and THOSE items are treasured. 

Yesterday was a rainy, dreary, crappy day.  The kind of day that I would call up my Nana and schedule a "little" visit.  I would drive down with Noah (pre-Bella) and she would make lunch and we would chat for hours, sometimes about important things and sometimes just about anything.  While I was thinking about her yesterday I remembered something else, Nana was the only person that ever mailed me a letter.  Not a post card, not a typed family update, not a Hallmark card with a signature, but a real handwritten letter.  I would get one or two every couple of months.  Most of them written when I was pregnant with my first baby and just like our visits some of the letters were filled with a important message and others just to say hi and let me know she had been thinking of me.  I have all of these letters.

I remember reading them when she was still here but somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that I  needed to save them so I could talk to her when she was not here anymore.  Yesterday I did.  I have not read them since she passed away almost 3 years ago.  Some of them make me laugh and some of them make me cry. I am just glad that I "took care of my things" because it is like having a "little" visit with Nana when I read them. Sometimes it is just what I need.  I have also had a few surprise visits from my Nana since she passed and it is only because I was taking care of my things.  One of these surprises came when I was moving to Virginia and packing up some breakable items.  Nana had given me a little figurine a year or two before she passed and I was just about to wrap it up in newspaper when I happened to look at the bottom.  Stuffed inside a tiny whole was a piece of paper with a note.  It said that my mother had given the figurine to her the year I was born and to "take care of it."  I got a good laugh that day, the kind that makes you cry after your done laughing because you can't call her up and let her know you got the message.

Yesterday I added a few things to my box of letters.  A picture of my daughter Isabella Shirlene, named after Nana.  She never got to meet Isabella so I thought it was about time. I also added a few shots of Noah because she always talked about how fast he would grow up, and he sure has.  I read one more letter before I closed the box. It had a picture of a little boy and a dog on the front.  At the end of the letter she wrote, "Do you think Noah will have a little dog some day?  I do."  I put the box away and left to pick up Noah at school.  As I drove down the street I saw a sign, PUPPIES FOR SALE.  Oh Nana, you make me laugh.  Miss you.

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