There's a picture of my grandmother that I talked my mom into letting me take ... I think she may have given it to me ... but I think about her when I look at it. And here's what I think:
My grandmother died before I was born. She was 44. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if she had lived. How would our lives have been different?
We grew up in the town where she lived. That might have been fun. Fun to say, "Hey, Mom! I'm going to Grandma's!" And off we might have walked or ridden our bikes.
She might have hosted Sunday dinners for our family -- which would have been nice because as a family of nine (seven kids and two parents) we were rarely ALL invited anywhere together.
My sister and I might have found relief from a basketball team's worth of brothers at our grandmother's home. Although with five sons herself, she may have not known what to do with us.
I think about how my mother and her siblings' lives might have been different. She might have helped out after babies born. Served as counsel for trouble during marriages or difficult children (of which I name myself). She may have been a listening ear for daughters and a refuge for her sons. She may have been the cute little grandma sitting in the front of the church during baptisms, first communions and weddings.
There's little doubt in my mind that my grandmother would have been perfect.
But what if she wasn't.
What if she annoyed my mom, and me and my siblings? What if she came to live with us, in old age (as if you could fit one-more-person-in-that-house)? What if she wasn't as perfect as we needed her to be? What if she wore crazy hair rollers and dentures?
She probably wouldn't be.
Sometimes, I wish though, that my mom had someone like her.
Someone who she could bounce ideas off of. Someone to whom she could cry about her children who wouldn't eat, or who kicked her, or who yelled at her. Someone who would tell her, "I didn't always do it right, but this is how I would do it now." Someone who would make dinner on Sundays when she felt like she just couldn't lift another finger to serve her ever-demanding family.
That's what I think about when I look at that picture of my grandmother.