So I promise not to turn this blog into "A Crone Adores Her G/Son," but, I cannot blog about my life w/o blogging about some "nonna issues."
I have a wonderful dentist, from Castillian Spain, and we've been friends for many, many years and whenever I see her, as I did today over a chipped tooth, we ask each other about my Son, the litigator, my DiL, the prosecutor, my G/Son, the genius, and about her Daughter, who is applying to law school, and her Son who is so gorgeous that it hurts. (OK, we talk about purses, too. We are both purse fiends.)
Today, on the elevator ride up to the third floor, I was chatting w/ her hygienist, who was on the elevator w/ me. I've never been too crazy about this hygenist, who's a bit brusque with all sorts of rigid instructions about flossing. Today was no different. What floor? Was I seeing Dr. N.? For a cleaning? No, then, what for? I got off the elevator a bit miffed.
Flash forwards 20 minutes. I have mouth full of metal and am almost upside down in the chair. The brilliant Dr. N. says, "You're going to have to get a crown. I'll patch it for now, but, to be honest, this tooth should have been crowned years ago."
I imagine myself in the cabin in West Virginia, on the porch, watching leaves sprout. I imagine myself in West Virginia, getting a massage. I imagine how sunlight looks, shining through leaves, onto a running brook. In West Virginia. I kick myself for not putting more money into my cafeteria plan.
Dr. N. does lots of stuff to my tooth and says that she'll be back soon.
Her hygienist stays with me. This is this lovely thing that women do for each other. They stay with each other and they weave the universe by chatting. "You have grandson, no?" I nod. "Two years, no?" I nod. She: "I have granddaughter. Four years. She is learning Russian, not at home, but on computer. "
She went on to tell me about her 4-year-old G/daughter's piano lessons and violin lessons and how she starts her English sentences by saying "First of all," and how she loves the computer, which she completely knows how to use. She tells me, with my mouth full of metal and unable to speak, how her G/daughter is even teaching her English, not at all ashamed, as some Russian children are of their parents/grandparents who don't speak perfect English.
She tells me, with my mouth still full of metal and unable to say how brilliant my own G/Son is, how, even though she has medical issues that make it difficult for her to sleep, when she takes care of her G/daughter, she sleeps w/ no discomfort. Suddenly, we are not two women separated by cultures and income levels and temprement, but simply two old women w/ beloved grandchildren. At some point, she takes all the metal out of my mouth and I tell her how whenever his parents tell him "no," G/Son says that he wants to go to "Nonna's house." Her eyes shine w/ admiration. Mine shine w/ pride.
By this point, my dentist has joined us an she says, "Ah, that's what I want to be called: 'Nonna.' That's lovely. I saved some toys. You know, it's an act of faith. You don't know if they'll get married or if they'll have children, but you just save the special toys in case. OK, let me see this tooth."
No one ever told me. No one ever told me how much sheer, flat-out joy there was in being a crone. No one ever told me about this sorority of old women, joined by nothing more than the amazing knowledge that having a G/child rejuvenates and validates and empowers you. No one, I guess because no one could figure out how to sell me something based on it, ever told me what joy and delight and glee there is in being a crone, a grandma, the one who says, "Namaste" to the babies.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."