as long as anyone around here can remember, certainly as long as two of ‘em truly can remember, tuesday is synonymous with only one thing: grammy.
thirteen years. six hundred seventy six tuesdays. give or take only about one or two a year. at the very least, it’s 650 tuesdays.
that’s nearly two solid years of her life (ah, what a math wizard, i am…), utterly completely devoted to the love and tending of her only two grandsons.
from the get-go, grammy tuesdays have had rules different from the rest of the week. she is two parts indulgence, one part old-fashioned mama. there will be elbows off the table, chew with your mouth closed. keep your bottom on the chair. comb your hair. tuck in your shirttails. patch the hole in the knee of your jeans.
she keeps us, and our house, in line. she will fix the wobbly neck of the lamp. glue the leg of the chair. rig up a rather impressive concoction to keep the cold air from blowing in under the door. and once she threatened to rebuild the inside of the toilet tank, the part where the water whooshes down into the bowl, does its thing. i told her to stop.
she reminds us to turn out the lights behind us. to not let the water run. to recycle every scrap in the house. she launches into her shpiel about keeping the world fit for her grandsons’ grandsons.
she reminds me i forgot to water the herb garden. forgot to deadhead the daffodils. forgot to haul in the porch furniture.
she thinks it a waste that we still have the little white lights strung on the crabapple. can’t believe i let the little one stay up ’til past nine, on a school night. asks for the umpteenth time if i’ve gone through the toys and the clothes to give to the place where the people have little to none.
she is, in many ways, my walking, talking conscience. sometimes i’m sure it makes me crazy, leaping over this should, dodging that.
but you know something: i love her like crazy. she’s my mama. and i know i’m lucky to have one. right here in my house, every tuesday.
my papa died a long time ago, 26 years ago saturday. my mama was my age now when he died. she was 50. ever since, she once told me, she’s turned over her life to making life better for all those around her. a vocation of mercy.
wednesdays are soup kitchen. thursdays, for a long time, were a very poor school in what was once called the slums of the city. the rest of the week she is running a roast chicken to someone, cleaning the trail in the woods for the schoolchildren.
tuesdays, though, she saves for her boys. tuesdays are a day for chef boyardee, that gummy blah pasta in red runny sauce, a something their mama would scorn. tuesdays are a day for cinnamon toast and alphabet letters, all mixed, smack in the mid of the morning. for sitting on laps and reading of eagles. for building train tracks that curve ‘round the room. for going to the zoo. for getting the animal fries.
tuesdays are days for listening to stories while mommy types in the other room. for keeping things calm while mommy pulls out her hair. for making chicken rice grammy, a thing that i loved when i was a girl and now i eat it again, many a tuesday.
she’ll be here any minute, because it’s half an hour ‘til nine. and she is, like clockwork, always too early. maybe she can’t wait to come. maybe she knows that we need her.