Time Changes || Part 2
Things are different now. Nana used to call people “Darling” like it was their name. It was somehow personal and familiar. I felt like I was “Darling,” like I embodied it as if it were a new identity.
Now, Mom FaceTimes me with Nana on the screen and mom prompts her, “Mom, say hello to Lisa.”
“Hello, Lisa,” she repeats.
Things are different now. I’d know she’d know it was really me if she called me “Darling.” I think anyone who had the pleasure of being called “Darling” by Nana would feel the same. It is personal, it becomes who you are, it is suddenly your new moniker. So, when she calls me by my first name it somehow feels less personal. It’s a reminder for me that she doesn’t quite remember things the same way, that she doesn’t tell her stories of mulligan’s stew anymore.
Things aren’t the same as they used to be. But, then again, they never are. The charm of it, though, is that they once were. And thank goodness memories live forever.
I used to drink black coffee with Nana. We would sit around the kitchen counter together and between crumbs of ginger cookies and sips of rich coffee, Nana would spill her stories to me as her diamond eyes glistened from the Tucson sun shining through the window and the sparkle of nostalgia from her stories. We would talk and laugh for hours and heat up our refilled coffee mugs at least twice. She would lead me outside, through her garden to admire her beautiful homegrown roses, which could probably win a blue ribbon at a county fair. She’d tell me over again “to thine own self be true” and “life is like a mulligan’s stew.” But things are different now.
Now, Nana gets moved from the kitchen to the den to the living space with the help of another and her wheelchair. She doesn’t heat up coffee anymore, but sometimes we’ll have ginger cookies together. She doesn’t tell me about mulligan’s stew anymore and sometimes she’ll ask where I live or if I’m in school. But we still laugh and love and understand. And she still has a subtle sparkle in her diamond eyes.
I moved away years ago, so I only see her on special trips home and on holidays, but we FaceTime with my mom as the mediator. Mom will prompt Nana, “Mom, say hello to Lisa.”
“Hello Lisa,” she repeats.
I sometimes fall into a spin of sadness that things aren’t how they used to be, that Nana has aged. And sometimes it feels all consuming when combined with the reality of the dreary world we live in. But I’m thankful for the present and I’m thankful for the memories and stories with Nana. Her diamond eyes and silver tongue helped me find peace and rejoice in the mess of the world. She reminds me of the underlying charm and the mixed stew that is life.
There are nights where my head spins, like the moon’s orbit around the earth. I get consumed with the world: the news, the traffic, the honking, the tarnished, the disconnected.
It’s exhausting and depleting. But, I don’t stay there for long, because even in the midst of the spinning I remember that the moon orbits around the earth, and what a miracle that is. And we can watch it rise and fall with the cadence of our beautiful lives every evening and morning. There’s a reason and a purpose behind every tick on our manufactured clocks. Reveling in the mundane moments of life moving forward is one of the most thrilling and grounding experiences one can have.
Even when time marches on and changes people or circumstances, the beauty of the memory and the charm of life as we know it today softens the blow of the world. Life is like a mulligan’s stew and the earth turns with the orbit of the moon. How brilliant.