30 Day Lady Positivity Challenge- Day 10

by - Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day 10-Someone with great hands-Nana

I know! Both of my Grandmas are in a row, but I swear it was not on purpose. I kind of obsess about these things all week, because every one could have a lot of different good answers and also questioning whether I would be making the person really uncomfortable by writing something about them (because I do understand that maybe it is a little awkward, so I try to keep it light on personal details or embarrassing hyperbole). Anyway, this one was one of the hardest so far, because the answer wasn't as obvious.

I spent yesterday going through pictures to get inspired, and I have to say, I shoot my Nana's hand a lot.
I have a bunch of pictures like this. Every year since I was in high school,  we have made Christmas cookies at my Nana and Poppop's. It is one of my favorite days every single year. As different (and many) cousins have gotten involved in the event, it gets silllier, bigger, and more fun. But the center of it is still my Nana, making the dough and rolling it out for all of us. I always take pictures of her hands working, because this is the original act of love that catalyzes everything else. Nana's gifts as a human being are hospitality and hosting, and she sees the value, beauty, and love involved in the little labors that people take for granted or don't even notice. That's what makes her house a home to her 30+ person, super-mixed family. It's in the hands, people!

My Nana is the hands that hold our mixed family together. My Nana married my Poppop a few years after my Mom's mom (Barbara) died, so most of the kids were already pretty well grown. My Mom has seven siblings. Three are biological, 2 are step, and 2 are adopted. Of my thirteen cousins, I am blood related to less than half.  But if you walked in the house on a holiday, you would have no idea. The bonds of love are just as strong as in any other family. When I was a kid, I couldn't have explained to you how everyone related to everyone else. I just knew my aunts and uncles were my aunts and uncles, and my cousins were my cousins. Period.

 As I have gotten older and have married into a family myself, I can see how much of a miracle this is. It has taught me that the bonds of family are love and commitment, not just blood. It shows how much of a choice it is, and that is why my Nana's attitude toward everyone- reaching out to them and being a caretaker towards them (and how that reverberates through the family) is one of the most beautiful things in the world to me. My Nana loves all of her kids (biological or not), and when anyone runs into rough times, they go back to stay at my Nana and Poppop's house. 

The beauty and complexity of our family is one of the huge blessings that came out of traumatic losses in our parents' childhoods, and I cannot imagine our family and our life without Nana.

Nana takes so much pleasure in taking care of other people, and this includes all those things (cooking, cleaning, baby care) that are real work and labor. That's why I think her hands are beautiful for holding us together, and for the work that she does. Around last Christmas, I was so touched that Nana (who is a tough cookie!) took a stand and threw a funeral lunch right during the holiday season when no one else wanted to deal with it. Just because it was the right thing to do. She is loyal. She is tough. She does not let others push her around, but she is quiet and supportive when it comes to her own children and grandchildren. She stands up for what is right, and often that means taking care of the people, or the events, or the issues (especially in her church) that no one else wants to deal with. That, to me, is so stinking beautiful.

Nana has a great smile with really bright eyes. She always has great earrings on. She loves to sing, and she dances along when she likes a song. I think her face still sparkles. She still looks at my Poppop with love, and they still hold hands. She has a big laugh, and she is happiest when her house is loud, smells like food, and is full of people. She can be stern, but you take her to Red Lobster, and one whiff of a cheddar biscuit and she's happy. She is really beautiful.

She also has that weird touch that some women have (my Mom has it too), where as soon as you put a crying baby in their hands, the baby is happy. She just knows hold to hold babies, and she is a sucker for little ones. At the wedding, Liam was still really little, but Nana had the best time being with him, and she was so sad to see him leave. The day of decorating, she held onto him pretty much the whole day, and they were both happy as clams. So that is another aspect of Nana's hands that makes her beautiful- special Nana powers!

So here's to you Marilyn Moffitt. Here's to your huge owl collection, to your fridge COVERED in family pictures. Here's to your toughness and gentleness, all in one. Here is to your big heart and your exceptional ability to turn that caring into action. Here's to your kitchen, maybe my favorite one in the whole world (definitely my favorite pantry closet). Here's to your knack for adventure, and the fact that you and Poppop have been to all 50 states. You are the only people I know who have actually done that. Here's to your love of coconut shrimp and cheddar bisquits. You love to be on our team, to have a job, and to help. That's why your hands (and you!) are so beautiful.

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