The Spaces Between Your Fingers

Click the image to flip

Flip
In 2010, we all visited Cleveland, OH for my Grandma’s 80th birthday to celebrate her. Growing up in CA, we did not often visit my grandparents or see the rest of my mother’s family. I imagine it is not easy to be far from your family, despite your age. Our presence made my Grandmother very happy. During this trip I was able to get to know my extended family in a way I hadn't before. I truly appreciate these times that we have together, and am happy I had the chance to see my grandmother smile in that way.

It has taken roughly seven long hours, four lukewarm cups of coffee, and one costly speeding ticket to get here. Turning the curb I can finally see our destination: Grandma’s house. This was all a part of a carefully calculated surprise for my Grandmother. This weekend is her 80th birthday. As we cross over the treelawn, I can see the aged swingdoor open cautiously. She hadn’t received any calls from Mrs. Ophelia or Sister Claude, and certainly was not expecting visitors in a strange car. Her eyes widen with disbelief as she finally recognizes the passenger, my mother. “Lency? Is that you.” In her sweet southern drawl. “You both have no business doing this to an old lady.” We exit the car into welcoming arms.

The scene is repeated with different unexpected guests with arrivals from across the country. Within hours, to my grandma’s astonishment, every one of the Williams sisters are home. Her daughters are situated on the old plastic-lined couches of their childhood for the first time all together in over ten years. I am seated on the ground shifting through photo albums and watching as my mother and her sisters revert to little girls, assuming their natural roles. When more than subtly prodded to see an old friend of my grandma’s they all jeer. Terry, the oldest obstinately refuses, “I don’t want to see that old bat. She’s not even nice to you. Take, Valencia. Go ahead, Lency. Go with Mom.” Jocelyn and Cosetta, the babies, whisper and snicker and chime in, “Yeah go ahead, favorite. Represent for all of us.” And, she did.

The next morning, Sunday, we all head to Enon Baptist. This time, no one has a choice. Grandma Betty Jo was the center of attention, by her own volition. She has decided to wear her brand new red hat that was a birthday present from Auntie Cosetta matched with a 2-piece red suit with black button detail. She has been voted Best Dressed for the third year, and she refuses to disappoint. She sure looks smart, but there is nothing more noticeable than the smile she wears on her face. When the Bishop asks for prayer requests and praise reports she sprang up.

“I just want to let you all know that my family has come to surprise me for my birthday. Which is a good thing now, ‘cause God knows I don’t have many of these things left. Setty even brought me this pretty hat that I have on now. Ain’t it nice? You all know Jarvis, Jocelyn’s son, know ya’ll haven’t seen him in some time, but look here he is. Lency flew down and brought my grandbaby, Natasha from college. Cosetta….”

And on it went while everyone smiled and clapped at her account. I could see in her eyes that she was simply engraving this beautiful day onto her memory.   

Grandmamma’s 80th Birthday

Flag as Inappropriate
November 2010
Cleveland, Ohio

In 2010, we all visited Cleveland, OH for my Grandma’s 80th birthday to celebrate her. Growing up in CA, we did not often visit my grandparents or see the rest of my mother’s family. I imagine it is not easy to be far from your family, despite your age. Our presence made my Grandmother very happy. During this trip I was able to get to know my extended family in a way I hadn't before. I truly appreciate these times that we have together, and am happy I had the chance to see my grandmother smile in that way.

Decade: 2010s
Rating:
Recorded by Natasha Rojas on March 19, 2014
×
×
4
×
Alert IconAre you sure you want to permanently delete this postcard? You cannot undo this action. Delete
×