In a few weeks, I will bring to a close my daily stint as a “Granny Nanny” to my grandsons Alixander and Noah. Two years ago, I retired from my position with a local interior design firm, rented out my home, and moved in with my daughter Elizabeth and the boys, then fourteen and eight, to help out as much as possible. This occurred as a result of the death of Elizabeth’s husband Mark.
As the smoldering days of summer are at their peak this year, I will relocate once more. I will leave my daughter’s condo in neuvo-posh Powell, Ohio and return to my house in an elderly and modest neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio—on a good traffic day, only a forty-minute drive apart, but light-years distant in benchmarks used in the United States to gauge the quality of life available in them. For instance, while Powell boasts some of the best schools around, like most school systems in large cities across the nation, Columbus City Schools cripple along. In my youth, Powell was farmland, stretching north of Columbus as far as the eye could see, but which now comprises broad avenues of sprawling, multi-storied homes and “executive” condos essentially, all of which have Beemers, Benzes, Volvos and their equivalents parked in garages nearly as large as the whole of my little house in Columbus. Sans make-up, to which I’ve grown allergic, and minus a Juviderm pout, and sporting a post-menopausal JLo booty, and even though my roots need touched-up and I drive a Kia Soul rather than a vehicle standard for the area, now and then, and risking sensory overload, I insert myself into the blonde and boy-hipped female fray of Powell and do the dodge-‘em-grocery-carts thing at the Kroger Superstore. When absolutely necessary, I also flash a credit card in the feathered-out establishments along Sawmill Boulevard, one of the region’s de rigueur shopping areas. But despite my pluck, there is no way around the fact that for the long haul, I do not belong in Powell. I am just no good at “keeping up appearances,” which is a requirement here. My daughter is a natural at it. She was born chic. Her soul requires it. My soul, on the other hand, while deeply proud and accepting of Elizabeth’s innate elegance and grace, compels me toward a plainer and simpler way of being.
And so, in August, I will return to my humble home in Columbus. My portion of Universal Spirit, which has been there all along, hiding in nooks and crannies invisible to its tenants, will greet me at the door, and let out a sigh of contentment. “Oh, let’s unpack those boxes and put the furniture back in place,” it will exclaim happily. While Spirit has been stirring all of this within my soul, it has been busy inside of Elizabeth’s, too. Independent to her core since the day of her birth, she is ready and eager to take up her life on her own again; to expand into the rooms I occupy now, and to set up her office and workout space; to convert the family room into a hangout for my grandsons and their friends. There is another element to this crowded mix. My son Frank also moved in with us a year ago. A long-time resident of New Jersey, Frank was one of the thousands of victims of Hurricane Sandy, from a financial standpoint that is, and had to come home. He will move into my house with me for a year or so, time he will likely need to completely re-establish himself here.
It is a universal truth that life wastes nothing, and although my Spirit yearns for a place of my own other than Powell, there was, and continues to be until the day a truck pulls up to my daughter’s condo door to haul me away, additional purposes, beyond the obvious, for my being here. This is far more than my “Granny Nanny” story. This two-year-block-of-time has been a veritable laboratory for Spirit; each of the five human beings subject to it have been individual Petrie dishes of experimentation for it—Petrie dishes of flagrant emotions; of bruised and bolstered egos; of tested and strengthened integrities; of shattered illusions; of acquired wisdom; of gained respect; of acceptance; of renewed commitments, of love. But among all of the subjects of this particular curriculum that Spirit had/has in mind, I think that forgiveness was/is its paramount goal. I do not care how exemplary our performances as parents, and I fell short in too many primary ways in that regard, there always exists fallout among parents and their children, especially their grown children. But Spirit grabbed each of us by our shoulders and guided us firmly, carefully, lovingly around one another, and ultimately toward one another. We prevailed! We came out of this human trial better persons, one and all!
Linda Lee Greene is the best-selling author of the true-life novel GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS http://goo.gl/imUwKO, and the co-author with Debra Shiveley Welch of the suspense novel JESUS GANDHI OMA MAE ADAMS http://amzn.to/VazHFG. Linda’s artwork is on view at www.gallery-llgreene.com. Linda’s Twitter handle is @LLGreeneAuthor. Her Amazon Author’s Page is at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindaleegreene, and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/LindaLeeGreeneAuthor, as well as on her Goodreads page at http://www.goodreads.com/LindaLeeGreeneAuthor