It’s our 8 year anniversary today. We’ve been together for 11 and a half years and married eight. Eight years and counting. I honestly can not believe it’s been so long. I know we have done a lot and accomplished many things in that time, lived in three houses and had three children. Our eldest is now almost 6 1/2 so the maths all checks out, but somehow I just can’t believe we’re closer to ten years than 5.
But this post isn’t about our anniversary and all the reasons I love my husband. Not because there aren’t heaps, but because I’ll make sure I tell him all of them tonight when we have a dinner just for two at a restaurant I have been wanting to try for just about forever! (well, since it opened).
I went to visit my Nonni today. My Mama is in Italy right now on a 5 week adventure and so all Auckland-dwelling family members have been tasked with regularly visiting Nonni who turned 96 last week and lives in a rest home, to keep her from missing Mum too much. She has pretty advanced Dementia so it is entirely possible she won’t be missing Mum at all, but still… you get the idea.
I had a meeting in Herne Bay at 10am so took the opportunity being child-free to visit my Non. I found her down in the hair salon section of the rest home, sitting under the hairdryer waiting for her hair to ‘set’. Although she couldn’t tell you my name if she tried, her face lit up when she saw me. I kissed her on the cheek and she told me how much she loved my jacket. I always find it hard visiting her one on one because it’s not like we can just chat. She was always such a talker and she will still try at times to fill the silence with a word or two, mostly about how light and bright the room is, but thanks to the dementia, it’s pretty impossible to have any kind of back and forth conversation. She can’t answer a question because I don’t really think she understands what has been asked.
I took nail polish as a way to break the silence and to give me something to actually do while I sat with her. I made small talk, told her about what Mum was up to in Italy but she it wasn’t until I showed her pictures on my phone (thank goodness for technology) that she even realised who I was talking about. As we waited for the nail polish to dry, I pulled a tube of hand cream from my purse and started rubbing it into her hands. I was overcome with emotion as I smoothed the lotion over her paper thin skin and wrinkled hands. I thought about all the things these hands have done over the past 96 years: the tears they’ve wiped, the meals they’ve prepared, the cuddles they’ve given, the nappies they’ve changed, the hats they’d made, the pearls they’ve strung, the knitting they taught me, the sewing they’ve done, the weeds they’ve pulled, the smoothing of perfectly put together outfits, the constant tinkering. I turned her hands over and continued rubbing. And because I didn’t know what else to do, I found myself saying “round and round the garden like a teddy bear” (half wondering if she would think I was mad!) Then I did the ‘one step, two step” and tickled her gently under her arm. She giggled her wee head off and I swallowed away my tears. I certainly never thought when I was a little girl with her doing that on my hands from as young as I can remember, that I would one day be sitting in a rest home playing round and round the garden back to her. And yet, it was perfect. It was just how it is supposed to be. The circle of life.
I bid her adieu and as she made her up to the dining hall for lunch, we snapped a selfie. How cute is she?