Let me describe my Nanny to you. She has beautiful, dark eyes like Eliana. Her hair has been short, dark, and curly since I can remember. In fact, I have a very vague memory of going to the hair parlor with her back in New York when I was four. Nanny is a very organized and efficient lady. Everything has a place and purpose. She doesn’t care for driving in the mountains or flying through turbulence. She would like everything done quickly. We jokingly say she’d like it done yesterday. Nanny walks quickly, makes the best salad in the world, fancies purple, and loves a clean house.
During the summer in between my 7th and 8th grade year, Nanny and Pop Pop drove from Florida and picked Trisha and me up. It took 5 days to travel across the country. I had no idea Arizona was so red or so hot. Mile after hot, dry mile of red mountains made me wish for just a touch of green. Even grass would do. I was so happy to see some grass in Texas. We found out that Texas took over a day to cross. The storm we hit on the return trip through Texas was like none other. We actually pulled off early for the day’s drive to the safety of a hotel. At the time I thought if I could live anywhere, I’d pick Louisiana because it is so green. I was writing a friend when while we were crossing Louisiana. I remember stopping in mid thought to tell her every time we crossed a bridge. The whole letter ended up being about bridges! I had never seen so many bridges before in my life.
We spent three weeks in Florida. Both Trisha and I learned how to crochet while there. We took walks through the neighborhood and to K-Mart. Trisha, Pop Pop, and I went swimming. Nanny would stand in the water now and again, but she doesn’t know how to swim. We attempted to play tennis. Let’s just say we were thrilled if the ball actually went back and forth across the court. The houses in their neighborhood were around ponds that were full of turtles, ducks, ducklings, and l-o-u-d cranes. We ate sandwiches, Italian food, and Drumsticks with carmel in the middle.
Nanny and Pop Pop came out to visit about once a year. Sometimes it was at Christmas time, and other times it was during the summer. They came out in May of my eighth grade year. I was nearing graduation and realized that they planned to head back home before I graduated. I asked if they’d be willing to stay into the beginning of June. They rearranged their flights just to be there. My Nanny, who hates turbulence, dealt with a rough ride home because she and Pop Pop were willing to stay and celebrate with me.
My Nanny cracks me up. When Nanny likes something, she becomes possessive. My Eliana, My Yankees, My Elvis, and My Bush (as in the former president).
I will always hold dear the first time Nanny met Eliana. She was elated! Her eyes grew wide with joy and pure delight. Words can’t describe well enough her smile. Even pictures can’t really grasp how deep this smile penetrated. It lit up her entire being. The pleasure she took in holding my wee one is a treasure I hope to keep in my heart forever. I had never seen such a big smile on her face that would last and last and last. Little squeaks and moves brought laughter and awe. Now that I think about it, Nanny is elated every time she sees Eliana.
This weekend, Nanny’s love for Eliana enabled her to have a sudden boost of energy and enthusiasm. She wanted to sit up and hold Eliana. She focused and talked with Eliana. She smiled that great big smile for the first time in four days. My Nanny, my precious Nanny is very, very sick with liver cancer. She mentioned that she wasn’t feeling well back in January. We saw her in February for Pop Pop’s 80th birthday, and she looked the same to me. This weekend she didn’t look the same, but I want to always remember the twinkle she got in her eye when she saw Eliana.
My Nanny loves her husband, daughters, son-in-laws, eight grand children, and seven great grand children.