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May days

May is always a full month for both my head and my heart. It houses my sweet mother’s birthday, Memorial Day which honors my veteran dad, and our anniversary. Those three markers, which occur within four days of each other, could be killer dates and could make me want to wipe May off the calendar map. But they don’t because May is also the blessed month of something else. It holds another birthday, that of our first grandchild, who is named after my mother, and who is a reminder of the good that all the days of May represent.

This child just turned 17. She was 8 years old when her Papa died. He was a big presence in her life, and his loss was as hard relative to her 8 years as it was to my 58. She coped in ways both akin to her years and beyond. She wrote a book for a third grade assignment and dedicated it to her Papa. She cried at times and she worried a lot.

She also hauled out old stories that gradually became family lore, like the time when she was two years old and Papa snatched her up by the ankles, turned her upside down, and smacked her across the back. Everybody else was talking, and he was the only one who realized she was choking on a carrot. But it didn’t matter that the carrot chunk went hurtling across the room and Papa had just saved her life. She was mad at him for two hours!

And then there is a conversation in “Hey, God? Yes, Charles.” where she starts a story about a year after her papa died by saying, “Here’s a good memory.” That’s a pretty powerful statement from a nine year old. You are watching a child model recovery, and the beginning of the transition from pain to peace. We grownups can learn something from that.

Our granddaughter has grown into a beautiful young lady, both inside and out. Her birthday, and her life, put the icing on the cake of May.

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Happy Memorial Day.

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