My grandmother has an interview at the US Embassy next month. I'm excited for a number of reasons, the first of which, I haven't seen her in about six years. More than anything, I'm excited for her. She spent 10 years splitting nursing duties with my mom, caring for my grandfather after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. After my grandfather passed, my family tried to arrange for her to come to the US to see my youngest cousin for the first time. She was rejected by the embassy, because it seems 70-something year old women with a penchant for high heeled shoes and shopping posed a threat to the American way of life. She had to travel to Dubai to see her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Repeatedly. She kept promising my cousin that one day, she would cook for her and do all the things she had done with all of the other granddaughters.
It took a while (almost three years) but she is getting a little closer to coming.
And when she comes, there will be a role reversal--I will be cooking for her, telling her stories and taking her shopping. This makes me smile, considering how my early childhood days were spent basking in her love and attention.
There is something else that makes me smile in anticipation--knowing there will be stories. She's an amazing, smart, strong, funny, flawed and slightly crazy woman. I get a few shades of my crazy from her. I don't have to look too far to see where I got my curious hair, ridiculous vanity, insane need for perfection and occasional sense of jealousy. And while this may sound like a parade of flaws, I assure you, it makes for a delightful person. Or at least an entertaining grandmother/infuriating mother. My poor mom can't spend a day with her and not call me in desperation. I'll actually share one of the more recent favorites:
My mom went back to Iran about a year ago. Among the gifts she got my grandmother as is our tradition, were a pair of practical walking shoes. Appropriate for a fragile older lady, something my mom actually liked (even though she's in her early 50s). When she gave my grandmother the shoes, fully expecting a joyous reaction (she bought her mom shoes after all, right?), she saw tears gathering in my grandmother's eyes.
"Do you like them? Don't they fit?"
"They fit.", Mamman mumbled.
"Then what's wrong?"
"I don't understand! Why do you keep buying me old lady shoes?! I'm not old! Why do you want to dress me up like I'm too old to wear nice clothes?!"
I had warned my mom that Mamman wouldn't like them, and I couldn't stop laughing at the mental image of my Mamman crying at the insult of getting orthopedic shoes from my mom who thought she was doing something thoughtful and age appropriate.
Yes, so this is who will be hopefully visiting me in a few months. And I have every intention of writing some more stories about her soon, when I'm less sleepy.