I’ve been thinking a lot about my two grandmothers, both gone now for many years but still very much alive in my memory. Their birthdays were a day apart, one born on February 28th, and the other on March 1st. From 1884, or 1896, to now is a vast expanse of time, I realize as I look back over my shoulder at them. I’m a grandmother now, too, and can’t quite figure out where the time went. How lucky I was to have the chance to know them well, to have them both an important part of my life. And how I miss them at times, like this birthday week.
Without planning it, my reading has taken a grandmother turn recently. Last week, I read two lovely books by one of my favorite poet/writers, Naomi Shihab Nye. The first book was her novel called Habibi, which I’ll be reviewing in a few days, and the second one was a picture book called, Sitti’s Secrets, a story based on Nye’s own grandmother who lived in Palestine.
Sitti means “grandmother” in Arabic, and this lovely story is about a young girl whose grandmother lives on the other side of the earth, and her journey to meet her. In an interview, Shihab Nye describes the story:
The book is the story of a little girl who grows up in the United States and then travels to meet her grandmother in Palestine. She feels the deep link between them. They invent their own language together. They share the small details of the grandmother’s life. Of course, as happened to me, she is a changed person. She goes home with a new thread connecting her to the Earth.
I love that idea of “a new thread connecting her to the Earth” because I’m grateful to my own two grandmothers for those threads that connect me with the Earth. And I’m very happy now to be experiencing the beginnings of those threads and connections as a Grandmother to my sweet little Grandboy.