Time to Get Real


All year in lockdown I’d been thinking that it will do me wonders when I can see my young grandson again. Then, just when you think that nothing is ever going to happen, trees start to bud, bulbs push up, and one by one, day by day, daffodil burst into laughter. It took winter to make me see spring. 

Oh yes, I note, things are moving. I’ll get there. 

Now he only knows me as that gray haired lady on the screen, waving and blowing kisses on Facetime and Zoom through various mealtimes, playtimes, and baths. My husband has a Nanit app and we’ve been known to watch him nap by day and sleep at night. Will he recognize us when we walk in the door, in the flesh and three-dimensional? 

My grandmother loved us with every ounce of her ninety pound being. When we were very young my sister and I made mudpies upon the back stoop of her house, just steps from the kitchen where she twirled about, a calico apron over her dress, making our favorite dishes for dinner: Goulash, and a checkerboard cake. 

We thought she was magic.

At another age we had a singular talent it seemed, of weaving potholders, and apparently couldn’t stop. Potholders in all their bright color palette. Having gifted them to everyone we knew and still toting a stockpile, we had the good idea of stitching them together to make a blanket or a throw for our grandmother. Which she displayed over the back of the sofa, or “divan” as she called it, in her apartment. Whenever I visited thereafter, I knew it was the ugliest thing. 

Yet there it was, for years.

Every summer we piled into our grandmother’s log cabin on a small lake in Connecticut—for the entire summer. Idyllic, free-range childhood memories that have come to mean more to me with each passing year.  Later, when going off to camp, or when boarding schools took us away, she became our pen pal. Drawing on her former teaching experience in the 1920’s—before she was married and became pregnant and had to quit teaching–my grandmother took out her red pen, corrected our letters to her, and sent them back. And no, we didn’t mind, not at all. That was love. 

Little lady. Big shoes to fill. 

I have to wonder, what kind of grandmother will I be? When I get real, I mean.


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15 responses to “Time to Get Real

  1. Alice B. Acheson

    Such loving memories!


    P.S.    I laughed when I saw the “1” hat!  Our 3 grandsons have had variations on the same — plus cake with one candle, and all three looked at us as “strange” creatures. “Why is grandma (or whatever they called me) thinking that that hat is a cause for celebration?

    I don’t remember your saying if she is your daughter or he is your son.  Whatever.  A good looking and caring family!

    Hope your grandson thought the wrapping on your birthday gift was tasty. ========== Alice B. Acheson, Book Marketing/Publishing Consultant P. O. Box 735 Friday Harbor, WA 98250 360/378-5850 https://sites.google.com/view/alice-b-acheson a little elbow room wrote on 2/28/2021 1:43 PM: > WordPress.com > a little elbow room posted: ” All year in lockdown I’d been thinking > that it will do me wonders when I can see my young grandson again. > Then, just when you think that nothing is ever going to happen, trees > start to bud, bulbs push up, and one by one, day by day, daffodil > burst in” >

    • That was the “1” hat celebration, and in a couple weeks we’ll be missing the “2” hat celebration as well. But we’re ever so grateful to be receiving our vaccinations, and soon we’ll be there.

  2. Beth Ahrens Yourgrau

    I have no doubt you’ll always be a part of your grandson’s life like our grandmother was in ours. He’s so young – you have plenty of time to build your own unique and special memories with him. I remember sewing those bulky potholders together, with you, to create this unwieldy and odd looking potholder blanket.

    • a little elbow room

      Thank you. I’m beginning to see how one day this will be a story we tell our grandchildren: all that his parents did to keep him safe. And how we had to stay away, and how hard that was for us.

  3. This speaks for so many of us! I love picturing your childhood in Suffield. There is a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel! 💞

  4. Val Gauthier


  5. Jane Clarke

    Fantastic! First off, you will be an amazing grandmother and Hunter is just getting primed for the visual, creative, literary and aquatic adventures you will be taking him on. Secondly, I love the memories of your grandmother. Nana or Mrs Welch to me? Am I right? I remember her sweet countenance and the times when your Nana, Mom and Aunt Marsha (?) would be immersed in some wonderful memory or other warm conversation punctuated by their love. I thought Marsha was beautiful with her red hair. Being the caboose in my family with older parents, I did not know my grandparents.

    The first time I remember meeting your Nana and indeed your entire delightful family was when a group of us were sledding at the golf club after a big storm. You and your family drove up and all spilled out of some giant station wagon.I don’t think you had even moved to Suffield, yet. You all stood at the top of the hill surveying the view. and the motley group of sledders. Even then I thought you were more sophisticated than the rest of us. John was still in a baby carriage and Tracie was in a stroller. I think you all met Patty and Lev there. Anyway, I had just had some toboggan calamity which was typical and came limping up the hill pulling the toboggan and holding a glove that had fallen off when I went for a tumble. Your Nana who was in tow, took pity on me and helped me put my glove back on. Can’t forget that kind of nurturing memory. Yes, you were fortunate. love, J

    • I love this memory you shared, Jane. Your Nana too, my dear. How she adored you!

      • Tracy Ahrens

        Jane, I loved your memory of all of us standing at the top of the country club hill in Suffield. I was too young to actually remember this event being a toddler at the time, but I can picture it in my memory. I am not surprised that Nana helped you out your mitten back on. She helped all of us countless times with our mittens and everything else that needed fixing. Kim is right, all of our best friends called her Nana and she loved it! For being such a small woman she was bigger than life.
        Kim, think how much fun you will have with your grandson. I hope you will be telling him stories and making precious memories with him for a long time. Perhaps some day he will write about you.

      • My thought exactly. I have long felt that something special happens between every-other-generation. That’s the hope. All I know is, for my part, I have fallen irretrievably!

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