Age is never so old as youth would measure it. -Jack London
I love my grandmother.
She has always been like a mother to me.
This summer she is moving out of the tiny outport town she’s lived in since her birth in the early 1930’s.
I’m certain she knows every tree, every movement of the tides in the harbour and is intimately acquainted with the fine lines in cliffs towering over the little salt box houses.
As of late, she’s celebrated her older sister’s approach to her mid-nineties, the death of dear friends and relatives and she’s outlived 2 husbands.
She never gets a cold.
Yet she says to me, “please god, if I’m alive next year, you’ll be home for the reunion,”
“nanny, don’t be silly, ofcourse you will,” I reply.
By comparison, my grandmother has her all-bran cereal, one orange and a cup of tea for breakfast every morning.
She has done this for decades.
Even into my mid-thirties, I can keenly remember the smell, the pop of citrus as she breaks the skin on her orange and pays attention to gently opening the juicy flesh over a paper towel, rocking sleepily in the chair behind her listening to CBC radio morning as a ten year old.
How could she not outlive me?
I rush into Starbucks, grab an Americano and some processed pastry, eat and text and zip off to work.
She walks miles every day, knits, makes her own bread, is always busy, has an active social life and a healthy spirituality.
Me, I hop on rapid transit,attempt to get some time at the gym and I’m satisfied opening a can of ‘whatever’ for meals.
I will always love her, respect her and listen to her carefully when she advises me.
That is the least I can do for all she has given me. Life, wisdom, unconditional love and safety in the storms of my parents’ divorce.
This summer when she moves into the city, to live next door to my aunt, the youngest of my father’s sisters, I will miss that tiny town as well.
But as long as I have her, I have my foundation and my safety.
I will love you always nanny…xo forever
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow