I just have way too much to post about. It's been such a terribly sad week, with a terribly busy and exciting week right before that. I am completely spent. People have been asking me to put pics of the house on the blog, or to update them on the blog. Honestly, I have absolutely nothing left at the end of the day. Sorry, but that's just the way it is.
It's Sunday morning and we're skipping church. Twins are asleep, Ian is asleep, and Maggie is watching her 7th cartoon of the morning. Awesome.
We just got back into town late Friday night from being in Columbia with my family. My grandmother, Nana, passed away last Monday. She had been in and out of the hospital for a while, but the end was really sudden and really sad. I'm not even sure what to say about it except for the fact that it just feels really strange to be with my family and not have her there.
Nana was a wonderfully complex woman. She was "straight-laced as they make em" (as she said), but she LOVED a dirty joke and a "hi-ball". She wanted so badly to be adventurous and spontaneous, but was paralyzingly afraid of flying, elevators, and lots of other stuff. She was extremely picky about who her daughters/granddaughters dated, but her favorite character on her "program" (i.e. "Days of Our Lives") was Bo Brady, the motorcycle riding, beard and long hair wearing bad boy from Salem.
Nana could straight cook it up. She made fried chicken like nobody's business, but once Bojangle's came along she was done with the frying. For the last year of her life she drove Papa down to Bojangle's for a sausage biscuit...EVERY morning. If you're not familiar with Bojangle's then first of all I'm sorry, and second of all just imagine pouring really really yummy tasting grease down your throat chased by some brown colored liquid sugar they call sweet tea. De-lish. I can hardly remember a birthday without her famous pound cake, or a holiday without her chocolate cake, glorified brownies, trash (this is what she called homemade chex mix), or some form of fresh vegetable cooked in tons of fat back or ham or something like that. I seriously don't know how she did it, but she made everything so good. She had the BEST beef stew - it was just heavenly. Everything in our family revolved around food - it was and is the way that we show our love, I think. And judging from the size of our backsides, I'd say we're pretty well loved.
My best memories of childhood - seriously, my best ones - are from my time spent at Nana and Papa's lake house at Lake Murray. We would go up there almost every Sunday after church during the summer. We would jump out of the car in our church clothes and try to run into the house, tripping over the exposed tree roots on the path. Seriously, when you got out of the car and got a whiff of what was cooking for lunch it was all you could do not to pass out from the hunger. Nana always made tons of stuff, but her specialty at the lake was what we called "Papa's favorite", which was simply fried squash. It would come delivered to us out on the porch, fresh off the stove, on a paper towel covered plate to sop up the grease. Jidge. Nana couldn't fry them fast enough. She would fry up anything - okra, squash, chicken, whatever.
Did I mention our family time revolved around food? Just making sure.
The best was when I would get to spend the night up at the lake by myself with Nana and Papa. I would venture to say that I got to do this more than the other grand kids simply because I was older (or maybe I was the favorite? Totally kidding, siblings and cousins. Besides, we all know the favorites are Kelly H. and Jeannie!). Every night Papa would sit on the front porch and swing me to sleep. I would get a pillow and put it in his lap and he would just rock and sing - songs like "East Bound Train" and other old train songs. Not sure why they were about trains, but they were. Anyway, every morning when I woke up I would creep downstairs and look outside. Nana was on the swing in the front yard, looking out at the lake. She would have her coffee in her hand and her blue striped robe on, and she would be so excited to see me and have me sit with her. She would make me some "Nana Papa coffee" - which is pretty much like the Bojangles tea I described, except it's coffee. We would swing and talk all morning until it started to get warm and it was time for breakfast. So sweet. So fun. So peaceful.
Nana was a really anxious woman. I didn't really know this until she got older, but I think the most at ease I ever saw her was when she was on that swing looking out over the lake. She just loved it there and seemed to be right in her element. There were lots of things Nana didn't want to do - she wasn't a big risk taker. When it mattered most to me, though, she took the plunge. Like when they took me to Disney World when I was 5 or 6. Nana did not like to ride rides, but she did it anyway with me. She also went on the ferris wheel with me at the State Fair, which was quite a feat given her fear of heights. The one risk I most remember, though, is when she took me to get my ears pierced when I turned 13. Nana had never had hers pierced either, so she and I headed down to Sylvan-DuBose Jewelery in downtown Columbia (no Claire's boutique for us!) and we both got our ears done. It was so fun to do that together. A few years ago I found that first pair of 14k gold sea shell earrings she bought me that I lathered religiously with alcohol those first few weeks. I wore them all week this past week in her honor.
There's so much more. She LOVED the Gamecocks. Didn't come to my wedding reception, allegedly because she didn't want to drive at night in the rain, but coincidentally the Gamecocks were playing Clemson in basketball that night. You be the judge.
I guess I just miss her. In all her wonderfully complex glory, she was a beautiful woman. Really one of a kind. She always called me "Farina" - short for "Bufferina", and every time I left her house (even last month) she would say, "Remember, Farina, you're my FIRST," because I am her first grandchild. Everywhere we went together, my whole entire life (I am not exaggerating here) she would tell people, "This is Buffy...I call her Farina. She's my FIRST grandbaby." It always made me feel special (and a little embarrassed when I was a teenager).
I talked to Nana on the phone a little over a week ago when she was in the hospital. She was so confused and really not herself. Her mind had been going for a while and she was just not with it. When we got on the phone I could tell she didn't really know who I was. Then before I hung up I said, "Nana, it's Farina - your first," to which she said, "Oh I know Farina!". So thankful for that last memory. I sure hope I can love my family as recklessly and passionately as Nana did hers.