Thursday, April 26, 2012

for Nana

"Well, it froze cotton to the ground, the day you were born...
that's what my daddy told me every year on my birthday. "

I suppose a late April freezing would be just cause for my great-grandfather to remember that day since he was a farmer, but I imagine the birth of his first child was the sweeter memory,
etched more tender in his heart than the useless rendering of his cotton.  

We've swung many a mile on the white swing that still stands, weather-worn, in her backyard.
When I was little, my sun-tanned legs just barely dangling over the edge, we'd sit on that swing, she and I, gently rocking back and forth. Her strong alto voice would sing over me.
I close my eyes and hear it even now...

Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.
I looked over Jordan and what did I see
Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

I was in middle school, I think, when I learned this sweet song was actually an African-American spiritual. To me, it had always been our song, but somehow that gave it richer meaning. I can still see the sky, one cloud rolling back after another, revealing bright blue horizon. And I promise you, one day I saw them. A band of angels. Singing along with her.

She loves Braves baseball and can quote you the stats better than some men.
She watches Dancing with the Stars and keeps score in a little notebook that sits next to her chair.
Her chocolate pies are famous. She knows the recipe by heart, a dash of this and a pinch of that.
She's a breast cancer survivor and one of the strongest women I know.
She has an affinity for pretty shoes and jewelry.
You need only five minutes with her, and she'll have you in absolute stitches.
She loves selflessly and without condition.

Today she is 85 years young.
She had egg drop soup for her birthday lunch and some of the strawberry trifle my mom made her.
I'll get to celebrate with her in person in just a few short weeks.
Tonight, I will go off to sleep with her sweet voice singing over me.

Happy Birthday, Nana!
I love you so.

17 comments:

  1. My eyes are welling with tears at this sweet happiness :) You are a beautiful writer Molly, writing of a beautiful woman. What a blessing to have such an incredible soul to guide you through life!

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  2. Happy Birthday Nana!

    Molly, you are a beautiful writer, what a lovely tribute.

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  3. That was so beautifully written. Happy birthday to your sweet Nana.

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  4. that last picture is sooo sweet. keeper there, for sure.

    it's so fitting that you are holding her hand in that other picture. you are the type to hold your grandparents' hand. i'm not surprised. and that's a good thing.

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  5. I love this. I love older people with so much character and life. this was written so beautifully (and I like that she keeps score of dancing with the stars). pretty sure I'd love her.

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  6. Happy Birthday to sweet Nana!!

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  7. "Tear"- Sweetest post ever!!!
    Happy Birthday to your Nana. She sounds like an amazing woman :)

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  8. Molly Rigoloso, your words! They are too good!

    Sweetest post and sweetest Nana. I love that song so much.

    And now I have the shivers.

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  9. Beautiful. She is such a sweet Nana.

    When will you be down our way? Any chance we could meet up somewhere? Miss you!

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  10. Happy Birthday, Aunt Jeanie! Love you!

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  11. This is so sweet. Made me really miss my grandparents and also remember all the great things about each one of them.

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  12. Such beautiful words to honor your grandmother on her birthday! Happy birthday to your Nana

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  13. :) love and hugs to nana...you mentioned the chocolate pie, but not the delicious rolls! mmmm - thats some fine eating! hope all is well! jmg

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  14. awwww sweet nana!!! I did not know that today is her birthday. She is so very wonderful! She is beautiful and so very funny. ( even though she might not know why we are laughing ; ) Happy Birthday Nana. May it be as wonderful as you are.
    lindsay

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  15. So great to have that kind of bond with your Nana. Happy Birthday!

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  16. Great words. Sounds like a special lady.

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good communication is as stimulating as black coffee,

and just as hard to sleep after.

anne morrow lindbergh