Grandma Bird was never without a pocket full of Kleenex. Often when I sneeze, or feel full to the brim with allergens, I pull my own Kleenex from my pocket and think of her. Glasses hanging around her neck like a fine piece of jewelry, fingers and ears bare of adornment, Grandma knew that life wasn’t about impressing others.
How could she? She survived the Great Depression and never forgot it. Not that she was all business either—in eighth grade, when I had FINALLY achieved honor roll status, the certificate of my feat floated around our kitchen for a few weeks. My parents were proud, I was shocked, but my Grandma? Nope. She picked up my honor roll certificate without a glance and moved it out of the way of one of my drawings underneath. That was where my heart was and Grandma knew it.
I didn’t need to impress her by struggling through classes, which, to tell you the truth, I mostly hated (Except English—how I love you, English). I worked harder that year so I could stay in music class, not to achieve honor roll. I just needed to reach the arts that most schools make so hard to find. Even if artists starve and get called all sorts of names like moody, poor, dreamers, without sensible ambition—those are stereotypes invented by people who worshiped scholastic hierarchy. Nothing but the stuff on paper or Kleenex you wad up a throw away.
But my heart on the right kind of paper? That’s me.
I’m eternally grateful that my kids attend a fine/performing arts school. It’s not an uppity right-side-of-the-tracks school by any means. It’s not a private school. It’s a school owned by a couple who knows that artistic kids need to be nourished just as much as the scholarly types.
Where is your heart? I hope you have a Grandma Bird to appreciate the real you.