What are you going to do for your 80th birthday? I can tell you right now, mine will involve doughnuts.
Maybe that’s in my blood somewhere, because that was the breakfast of choice for my grandpa on his 80th birthday. I flew into town to celebrate him at a family dinner with several cousins.
Once I knew this was an Ashton ONLY, 24 hour trip, I set about planning a solid hour to myself. I didn’t even have to hide in the bathroom!
Visiting my Great Grandma’s grave topped my list. I just wanted to pop in, say hi, and see if she got any new neighbors since I last visited.
People find me endearingly embarrassing when I visit her grave because I like to talk out loud. I know this because I get predictable closed mouth smiles and head nods from people, while simultaneously hoping they remembered to lock their cars. I just find speaking out loud very…normal? I don’t have a full conversation, just like 20 seconds of quiet words. I feel a flash of that same familiar, warm connection my Great Grandma and I had, and it makes me feel less like I’m at a cemetery.
Orrrr I’m a mom who doesn’t get out much and am in dire need of conversation/normal social skills/counseling.
Either way, I take just a minute to say hi, tell her about my kids, and assure her that their diluted Swedish genes seem dominate. I wanted to tell her this time about how I burned the crap out of her cookie recipe the past two times I attempted, and wish she had left a more specific oven temperature other than “cook until slightly brown.” Should I put the cookies in on the bottom rack? I don’t normally chill the dough before I bake them, and is that a problem? Does she think it’s wrong to feed a nine month old a lot of tester cookies?
It was snowing and beautiful, and I knew I would get a second to muse about baking without people spying on our conversation. Well, not conversation. . .that would be scary. . .just my solitary pondering about shortening brands. Exceeeept.
After a couple of calls to the cemetery’s record office, I had her grave plot. The process of locating my Great Grandma sounded discouragingly similar to plotting a graph in high school math classes, which I still don’t get. I brought Kleenex for extra credit every quarter, you feel me?
I threw in the towel after my frozen, wet hands were numbly spinning around my iPhone trying to calibrate it’s compass to figure out which direction was East. I was happy no one was around, so I could whisper to my Great Grandma, “Hey girl! Can’t find you, but we have a lot to talk about!” Another Shark Tank idea: heated headstones for family members trying to visit graves during winter months. I didn’t suppress the smile I had thinking of my Great Grandma watching the whole thing laughing. I know wherever she was, she laughed and fake shivered and shooed me home to get warm. Her eyes were always sparkly.
I’ve digressed from my Grandpa, but the grave situation was visiting his mom, so.
His dinner was amazing, the company was amazing, but my photography job was not amazing.
I still haven’t perfected any cookies, but I loved seeing my family and celebrating my grandpa!