January is a tough month for most people. It's dark, dreary and cold. Your resolutions that sounded like such great ideas at the beginning of the month are either long gone and fueling your guilt or have totally turned into a chore. Movie and music releases are slower, television shows are in reruns, it's all glum after party let down.
February, you start to pick up a bit. You picture the good things ahead. You either look forward to Valentine's day, or you look forward to boycotting and complaining about it.
Today is the one year anniversary of my grandmother's death. She was my last living grandparent. She watched me when I was a small child, helping me with my homework and scraped knees. She wasn't the grandmotherly type, often issuing rules that made me mad. But I always knew she loved me.
I remember my grandparents buying me a doll house for Christmas one year...a huge monstrosity wooden kit. My grandparents quickly realized that this was way above their skill set, and returned it for a pre-fab pink plastic one. But she took the extra money and bought a wooden furniture set. The miniature pieces required assembly with glue and stickers and paint. My grandmother sat at the dining table with me working on those tiny pieces, mumbling under her breath, after school for weeks. I loved them. I played with them for years, and my girls played with that dollhouse for a few years.
I am a reformed pack rat. My life changed many times growing up, and holding on to things gave me a sense of peace. As an adult, I've had to learn how to let go of those things, whether thanks to a flooded basement or a general lack of space. The things I keep now must be very special or beautiful or functional. I still have that furniture, in a shoe box in a plastic tote.
My grandmother was very difficult in her later years. My mother and her never had an "easy" relationship, although they would both argue that it was the best it could be. The stories her friends told at her memorial helped me remember the fun things about her. And time has allowed me to pull those memories up more readily. And I've seen some of the things I get from her.
Today, I miss my grandma. I'm not sad that passed, as she lived a long life. But I do wish that I had taken the time to learn more about her from before she was my grandmother, before she was a wife and mother. I wish I had thanked her more often for the memories she did give me.
I think I need to visit with my furniture tonight.