Thursday, December 01, 2005


I am a born procrastinator. I will let the laundry pile up until it cascades down into the basement of its own volition. I still have a birthday present for a friend of C's sitting in my room from a party we missed two months ago, but I haven't yet made it to the post office to mail it. Hey, I've even been known to procrastinate on blogging. You should see the litter of unfinished blog entries on my computer.

Right now I'm procrastinating on going to see my grandma. She's not doing all that well, according to the aunts at least, and even my dad got on the phone after we missed the family Thanksgiving get-together to ask when I thought I was making it up to visit her. So I know I need to make the trip up, probably with both kids in tow. And if I don't make it soon I'll probably regret it. But I can't quite seem to commit to a date.

I'm not quite sure why I can't bring myself to pick a time to go visit her. Is it my fear of seeing what it is like to be old, frail, and uncertain when one used to be young, vibrant, and determined? Is it because I hate to replace my current memories of Grandma with ones of her wheelchair-bound and confused? Probably and probably.

It is hard for me to reconcile the woman I remember from my childhood with the one who now sits in a wheelchair and can't quite remember which of her children I belong to. I'm never sure what I am supposed to say when I speak with her. I ramble on about my kids, but since she's unclear on who I am, I'm certain it just confuses her even more. When I ask about her activities she is silent. She used to be so opinionated, so clear, so determined. Now it seems like she is just waiting to die. And I'm not good at dealing with that.

My grandmother was one of the first female pediatricians, and practiced right up until she was 86 years old. Her "kids" were her patients, not my dad and his sisters, and certainly not me and my cousins. As a young child she scared me silly. She was stern and rigid. Things were done her way, or they would be redone her way if you dared to stray. She actually washed our mouths out with soap when we talked back. So do I have fond, loving memories of my grandmother? Not so much.

But when I was broke and uncertain what I was doing with my life, she let me live with her for a year rent-free in Brooklyn while I commuted to a dead-end job in NYC. When she realized I was in a dead-end job, she coerced me into applying to graduate school and supplied me with the needed funds to tide me over until my scholarships kicked in. While she was never a warm and fuzzy lots of hugs type of grandmother, she has, in her own way, been there for me when I needed her.

And I know that even though she probably doesn't remember my name, or that I lived with her for a year, or that I got married to a man who reminded her of her husband, or that C's middle name was her maiden name, if I show up and bring her some wildflowers I will make her day. It's hard to justify the procrastination when I look at it like that.