For the longest time, when I was a kid, I thought my grandmother’s name was “Sito.” Every time she’d see me, she’d throw her arms wide open and say “Dame un besito!” I thought that meant come to Sito and for years I called her that. It actually means “give me a kiss!”
Grandma was always a little bit of a character but as she got older, she just didn’t care really. She had no filter and said what she wanted, did what she wanted and unapologetically, told a little lie here or there.
I remember being a little embarrassed as a kid, when she would just talk to people, pinch their cheeks, and tell them they were pretty. Now, I find myself trying to do that (minus the cheek pinching) in an effort to be more connected to people.
What did she know then that we didn’t?
Nothing I’m sure but that didn’t stop her from just dancing to her own beat every day. And she did! Grandma loved to dance and had this little jig she would do – mostly with the handsome boyfriends of my sisters. Yep, Grandma still head game in her 80s.
While she didn’t really worry about herself, she kept a hawkeye on all of her grandkids. I remember her senility starting to get worse and she’d go through a round of questions like clockwork every time she’d see us. She would ask all the significant others the same question: “who do you belong to?” That was her version of finding out who was with whom.
Grandma was not subtle about her opinions. If she thought something, she said it. She would always say: “Jesus doesn’t want me and the devil thinks I talk too much.” She was probably right and neither of them stood a chance against her.
She also had this not so subtle way of asking for things. She’d pick up a picture or stuffed animal or anything she fancied at the moment, and she hold and caress it and lovingly declare: “I would love this if it was mine.”
OK grandma – we got it.
We’d always have to pat her down and check her purse after every visit. Come to think of it, we had to check her purse pretty regularly to make sure there wasn’t a surplus of silverware taken from various restaurants or sugar and cream packets poached from the free coffee at the grocery store.
She was all about the here and now and she was ready to go every day. Not one day would pass where her hair and make up weren’t done. She always had her lipstick on because she wasn’t fully dressed without it.
And she lived by her own code. When my mom had me, she was exhausted. Well, my grandmother took over and fed me oats and beer for the next several days so that my mom could have a break. (That actually explains a lot.)
She danced when she wanted. She pretended not to hear you when she wanted and she said what was on her mind.
And even towards the end, we knew she loved us, even if she couldn’t always remember who we were or “who we belonged to.”
Jesus, I apologize because I know she’s talking your ears off. And I just know she’s throwing her arms open to everyone she sees and saying “Dame un besito.”