Oh, grandma. I've missed you ever since you had those strokes a few years ago, and I miss you even more now that you're gone. I miss the way you'd call and casually ask in your New Yorkish accent, "Wanna godda lunch, Dolly?" I'd say yes, and you'd grab your "pockabook" and your walker, "Mrs. Jones." You and Grandpa and I would meet at Rainbow Garden ("Rainbow" for short) and get caught up on life.
The two of you would arrive, oblivious to the stir you created, with your matching jackets and birkenstocks, and your loud, laughing voices. Grandpa would stop to chat with old students and you'd shake "Mrs. Jones" at him, telling him he'd better get to the table so he could be with his granddaughter. You'd take your time with the order, confusing the poor server, but they didn't seem to mind. You were treated like royalty.
Everyone loved you.
Grandpa loved you most of all, pinching your cheek, and your rump, getting that swooning look in his eyes as he crooned about how beautiful you were, how much he loved you. What a wonderful example you set, owning your short, round body like a boss, exuding comfort and satisfaction in it, and even regal superiority.
Thank you for showing me that it's okay to love food, and to savor each bite with loud, enthusiastic gusto and gesticulations towards heaven. Thank you for teaching me to try new flavors and new restaurants, and to always splurge on dessert, especially if that dessert is Thai coconut custard or tiramisu.
Thank you for showing me how to laugh unceasingly in a relationship that lasts a lifetime. Thank you for showing me how to age with relative grace and plenty of humor. Thank you for being an example of a woman unabashedly living her own life, giving zero fucks about what anyone thought about her or her actions. Thank you for your cackle, and your wicked sense of humor. Thank you for wearing your heart on your sleeve, and showing that it's okay to get verkelmpt and cry anywhere, for any reason.
Thank you for driving me to horseback riding lessons, and singing songs from "Nunsense" with me along the way. Thank you for feeding me all sorts of unwholesome things we didn't get at home when I was growing up. Thank you for sending me fancy nail polish when I was in college, and then switching to rolls of quarters when I told you that as much as I appreciated the gesture, quarters for the laundry would be far more useful than the polish.
Thank you for your bluntness, and your honesty. I'll never forget the first time you met Tyler (just one day after I met Tyler!), how you took one look at him and reached your perfectly polished nails towards his head and crowed, "Ooooh, he's a redhead! I'll have my redheaded twins one day! My red headed twins!" You jabbed your finger towards the sky and said it as though you'd been right all along, as if you knew he was the one for me. You were right about him, of course. You were usually right.
Thank you for your kin-keeping, for making sure my brother Lian and I spent time with our cousins, for making sure we celebrated Hanukkah and Passover together. You were the matriarch, for sure. It's true that Grandpa accomplished so much in his lifelong career, but we all know he couldn't have done it without your being there behind the scenes, keeping all his shit in order. What can I say? When you're right, you're right!
I miss you grandma. I love you so much, and I always will.