I was surprised, flattered and very nervous when Sus asked me to do this post. Amazingly, the ONLY limits she gave were regarding length (several times, in fact). This is too big a responsibility for me. I am truly in awe of Susannah and all you bloggers. I marvel at your dedication, bravery, wit, intellect and TALENT. I am a lot of things but, as I have commented before, I am not a writer. I am a talker, for sure. I can talk anytime to anybody about anything--there are some who would say too much and too long. But sit me down to write and I become self-conscious, dumb--though still not brief. Never brief (that's my motto). One of the things I so admire and respect from talented writers like Susannah, Andy and her Dad (HEJ) is the way they not only come up with fresh ideas but that they can write in many directions seemingly unrelated, and then, miraculously, pull it all together in a flawless ending. Be warned: this won’t happen today. If anything you’ll probably get to the end and say, “What the Hell?” And, if one can write about anything, then how to decide? Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am genetically challenged when it comes to brevity. Because my father? Oh, how he did talk. I could tell you a story but... There’s so much to say, to talk about, so many words, ideas. Good writers say so much in so few, carefully chosen words and, as I warned, I am not a good writer. It took me all those words just to say that.
Here I am. Susannah's mom, now referred to as “Grandma Glitter.” (I must say I read my “intro” describing me as Charo… really! Maybe just a tiny bit with regard to accessorizing but I don’t like her--except for her energy which I covet.) I’ve thought about what I, at my age, with my experience and, dare I say, some degree of wisdom, could presume to say to you. The sad thing is that no one ever gets wisdom handed to them-we must earn our own. But if I could tell you the things that after many years and many life experiences I think are most important, it would be these:
First off: Family and most specifically, children, are the most important thing, period. I spent the early part of my life with the sure knowledge that I would be “special”… somehow “famous” (does everyone do that?). I didn’t know what I would do to get my name in lights or print, but I knew I would. Then in my early 30’s (yeah, it took me awhile to lose the illusion), I realized I would NOT ever be famous… and it was okay. Now, I look at my life and say that while I am very good at what I do (Director of a Homecare Agency) and love it, the FINEST and BEST thing I have ever done in my life is raise my children: Andy and Susannah. I should be famous just for that. I love my family more than I have words to express and they give me so much. Your family is everything in whatever form it takes: by birth or by choice through making a family made up of friends.
Numero 2: Live in the Present. It’s all any of us can do anyway. Live out loud. The most miraculous thing I’ve discovered is that none of us have any clue what’s going to happen. Ever. “What’s the best way to make God laugh? Have a plan.” If anyone had told me 8 years ago that I would be working for my competitor, living alone in a studio apartment on the edge of San Francisco's Tenderloin District and that I would absolutely love it, I’d have given them a big Elaine two-handed chest shove and said, “Get OUT of here!” Life just happens and you have no choice but to be amazed.
3. Love yourself. Look in the mirror to find your best friend. When I was younger I didn't know this, never even suspected it. But now? Now I cherish my own company. Now I realize how much I need my space and alone time. My bed is my safe place and I make it as scrumptious as possible, quilts and sleek sheets, soft fuzzy things and scented candles. Give yourself what you need.
Quatro: Laugh… if I couldn’t laugh at myself, my life, my tabloid magazines, my parrots, the fire station blaring across the street, I’d go mad. I often look at myself as if I were in my own sitcom. For instance, I live a block away from the city's own Grand Central Tranny, a hot bed of prostitution. Not only do I often get great compliments on my way to work (they LOVE my huge metallic gold, crystal and metal studded purse! Susannah hates it) but just the other day I was solicited! I’m 63 years old for chrissake. I was dressed for work and trying to hail a cab. While I am less conservative in style than my daughter, I don't think I go around looking like Mimi from The Drew Cary Show either. A 30-some odd guy pulled up in a muscle car, rolled down the passenger window and gestured for me to come get in the car. I thanked him and declined. He persisted. At first I thought he was just trying to give me a ride and wondered if he thought I was stupid enough to get in the car with a stranger. Didn't he realize he'd have to offer me candy first? Then it dawned on me… he thinks I’m a transsexual hooker! Hm. Compliment? For me, probably. Yes, I decided yes. What I’d say about that (other than ridiculous) is embrace the contradiction!
Well, I’ve gone on too long. I haven’t even explained how and why I came to be called “Grandma Glitter.” But given my daughter’s intro for me and some of the above it’s probably evident. I wear a lot of jewelry. I have never been of the belief that you twirl around in the mirror and take off the first thing that catches your eye. Instead, I twirl around and pile on more sparkle! I am the Original Fancy Nancy, Eloise before she ever stayed at The Plaza. And Zoey has always loved my bangles. Whenever we meet, the game of transferring the bracelets one by one from me to Zoey begins. She especially loves and remembers my “Zoey Heart Bangle.” Now the parting drill is that she puts a kiss on the heart for me to keep as she hands over the bangles one by one. If I have to pick a regret (and I try to live without regrets--what’s the friggin' point? No do-overs allowed!) it’s that I am not the grandmother I had. For one I don’t have that Grandmother house, all gingerbread and cocoa. I work. My very best and most nurturing, life-saving memories from childhood revolve around my grandparents in North Carolina. To this day the smell of BenGay, Mentholatum and the ticking of a Big Ben clock make me feel all warm and fuzzy. I would just sit there for hours cupping the loose skin underneath my grandmother's arm, cup cup cup, so soft and cool to the touch. Of course Zoey will have her own unique memories of her Grandma Glitter when she’s my age. Perhaps the glint of a QVC moissanite ring will warm her heart, I don't know. I can only hope that whatever they are, they will mean as much to her as mine do to me.
That’s it, folks. Nothing neatly tied up--just sort of stream of consciousness. Just sort of me. And this is where I twirl and add some more! Grandma Glitter is over and out, just a trail of sparkle where once I stood.