Yesterday evening, waiting until I-15 resolved itself of the rush commute, Michelle, BJ, Zoe, and I made an outing to Bountiful to surprise my Grandma and Grandpa Burton with a visit. My Mother’s parents.
Being in their home reminds me of my childhood. The decor, the scent, the vibe, it's almost stunning how the senses recollect more vivid memories than the mind. Nothing changes there, nothing. It’s comforting. I remember all the great times my sister and I had over there when we were children, and it makes me feel less guilty for leaving Zoe with my parent’s now and then while BJ and I go out. Personally, I am thrilled to have those memories with my Grandparents. Even the one where she scolded me for eating my carrots before the blessing.
I remember random things about spending time with them:
The discarded toothpaste tube that was flattened in the road like paper from all the cars that drove over it on our walks across the street to Winegars, where she would let us pick out puzzles and The Little Critter books.
Waking up to her cooking us breakfast in the morning. She would express amusement telling me (as if it was the most exceptional thing) that I slept on my tummy the whole night through, every time she checked on me. It made me feel special.
One time, while she was dressing me after my bath and my sister was still in the tub, I told her my sister’s shirt was my shirt because I wanted to try it on. So she put it on me. It was a belly shirt. I felt guilty the whole time I wore it. Michelle must have been too young to care, because hell did not happen.
Driving around downtown Bountiful. She stopped off at some store, leaving us in the backseat of her running car, and reappeared with two lofty ice cream cones, “it’s swirled, chocolate and vanilla together”, she explained. I was impressed and delighted at the expertise of swirled flavors even though I probably still went for the chocolate part.
My grandparents are elderly. I never can remember the exact number. Somehow they keep chugging, and they live generally independent despite each year whittling away at their health. They are also two of the sweetest people I know. I have never seen one without the other. They have been married 63 years.
My Grandmother endures her days with dementia. She has such a sense of humor. My mom keeps very close tabs on her and said she has her good and bad days, and I think we showed up on a good day. She wasn’t quick to recognize B.J. and Zoe, despite meeting them several times, but she recognized Michelle and I as her grandchildren (we were afraid she wouldn’t) and instantly lit up, taking us in her arms to receive us, as did my Grandpa.
We sat out on their backyard patio, ate gourmet mint brownies, and chased Zoe around in the grass. My Grandma found the name Zoe to be rather peculiar.
It was a calm evening. My Grandpa is frail and exhausted. I just wanted to sit with him and not speak, because I could see that holding a conversation even takes a lot out of him, but he is stubbornly self-sufficient. He would not let me help him with anything, insisting on playing the host while we were his guests.
As I stood in the kitchen cleaning up the wake of hurricane Zoe, my Grandpa stood in the door way watching us, and the thought rose to me, “When you are gone, I will never see you again. You will be gone forever. This moment will never occur again in the history of time, ever”.
I look up to them, and I really love them.