Eleven years ago I became a Grandmother for the second time on this very day. My own sweet Maybe Girl. Or as her Bumpa Rene’ calls her, Bo Berry. Such a sweet and loving little girl and as we soon grew to realize, a force to be reckoned with. At the age of two, she understood the art of teasing and sarcasm. Her sister G was four years old and Maybe could confound her with hardly any effort.
I remember taking them out for a walk and G was telling us a big long story. After each sentence Maybe would turn to me and repeat word for word the same story. Initially G would stop and look at her sister as if trying to figure out what Maybe was talking about. As this continued, G would become more and more flustered until she would turn to me and say “Mormor, She’s making this up. She is lying. Maybe is telling stories.” Now Maybe didn’t try to vary the wording at all. She was just copying her sister. Finally I asked Maybe “Did this really happen?” Maybe just smiled at me but didn’t answer. So I asked her “Are you just trying to bug G?” Maybe laughed and laughed and grabbed my hand. “Yes.” she replied. She couldn’t stop laughing at how funny she thought she was. Just like her Bumpa. He thinks he is funny too.
This little blonde blue eyed sweetie is the most determined child I have ever met. Smaller and younger she tries to keep up to her older sister. In sports she gives more than her all. There is no quit. She has the spirit deep down inside of her that is needed to succeed in this world. Tough and determined but with hugs that warm you from your head to your toes. When she smiles her eyes light up and a room is filled. She is pure delight. Even when she was a small child I felt like I was talking to an adult at times. Once at the cabin when she was almost three, I offered her some blueberries. G was enjoying some and so I told Maybe they would make her big and strong. She finally took one from the bowl and ate it. “Is it good?” I asked. “Yes” she replied. “Do you feel big and strong” I asked. In pure Maybe fashion she turned and looked me straight in the eye and answered “Nope. But Mormor, I only ate one.” And off she scampered, probably pondering how her Grandmother could be so dense. One blueberry. Geez.
And now she is in grade six. I think back to my life at that age and it amazes me that so much time has passed. I loved those years. Although technology has changed things so much, eleven is still eleven. A sleepover pizza birthday party. To bring in the year right. I feel my Mom with me as I watch these kids. We get to relive our childhood through our kids but it is hectic. When the grandkids do it the pace is slower. A time to reflect and replay the old memories. Times have changed they say but not as much as you think. Maybe is just starting to blossom. What are her dreams for the future? It is a beautiful time in a young girls life. Happy Birthday sweet one. You bring us joy.
Now I must admit, this is one birthday I have trouble remembering. You see Maybe was born on my brothers birthday. That isn’t the problem. You see, I can never remember my brothers birthday. Is it the fourth or the fifth? Every year. When Maybe was born I though it would be easy. Her birthday is the same as Bent’s. And yet… Luckily my daughter Drew made me a beautiful hanging plaque with my whole family’s birthdays.
My brother Bent graduated from high school the year before I started grade one. He was married when I was eleven. In fact I am closer in age to his daughter than to him. I have fuzzy memories of Bent. He drank coke, smelled like juicy fruit gum and there was a set of drums in his bedroom which I was forbidden to play. So I used the little whisk brush things to play so my Mom wouldn’t hear. The Beatles were big in the house and the old theme song for “Hockey Night In Canada” always makes me think of Bent. I remember his car with the suicide doors. And his girlfriend. She was so pretty. I once walked passed my house with my friends and on to her house so Bent could take something out of my eye. I was a pretty cool four year old. My brother had a pretty girlfriend. I knew when he was at the local café with his friends and I would go hang out. He would buy me an orange crush.
Bent moved away to go to school. First Camrose College where I would one day go as well. Eventually to Lethbridge. He worked in a Radio station and it was so cool to be allowed into the booth with him. I had to be very quiet though. I remember being allowed to stay up late one night to watch him on TV as he read the news. I should ask him about that. I didn’t know him that well really and I saw his life more from the outside. I grew older and life was what it was. I came from a large family and we were spread out. I didn’t know any of them well. Until my son died. I still have all of the emails Bent sent to me in that time. He talked to me on the phone and shared experiences from his own life. His own son was born with difficulties and Bent helped me more than he could ever realize. That is when I started to know him. Throughout the years I found myself calling Bent more often and he had a unique outlook. Every time I talk to him I realize how positive he is. When I complain about someone or something in my life he just listens. But he never judges. Me or the person I am upset with. I walk away from him with a weight lifted off of my shoulders. Bent embodies all that was good in my Dad.
Today is a very special day. The day two people were given life in this world sixty years apart. They share more than a birthday. They are both old souls. Peaceful and beautiful people. They both teach me so much and I am blessed to have them love me. I have learned that God places people in our lives because we need them or because they need us. On this day God blessed me twice. Happy birthday Bent and Maybe. May the next year in your journey on this earth bring all the love and joy that springs forth from the universe and may each day bring wonder and awe.