I’m sitting at my desk. There is a container of kale chips and a mason jar of Lagunitas Lucky 13 beside me - which I’m sure doesn’t surprise some of you. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you very well know how much I love my Lagunitas. Not only is it an excellent beer, but it’s also brewed in my hometown, which makes it extra awesome. It’s nice, from time to time, to have a taste of home when you’re living on the other side of the country.
I’ve decided to write this blog because it seems necessary to share where I am right now. Not where I am as in location (even though I already did describe to you where that is), but in the broader sense of what my life entails. Currently, my life is in a state of flux. I have no idea where I will be living in a few weeks, except for the fact that I will be crashing on my friend’s couch - which after already moving eight times in New York, really isn’t that big of deal anymore. I’ve been through a lot worse, and have come out stronger on the other side. This is just another step. Granted, there’s a lot more to this moving situation, but I’m not at liberty to divulge specific information at this time. Let’s just say that with no concrete plan set, I’m putting a lot of faith into things outside of my control at the moment.
Faith is nothing new to me, although it seems odd to type the word. I grew up a Catholic, but since my sophomore year of college I have continued to distance myself from the Church - which might surprise some of you, at least those that were with me in high school. I used to be a very religious individual. The kind of girl that gave the speech at her Confirmation and prayed every night before dinner and before going to bed. Oh, and I also attended 7:30 mass every Sunday morning. That’s 7:30 AM. But over the years I found myself distancing more from a structured religion, and started considering myself to simply be a spiritual person. Still, typing out the word “faith” seems odd to me. Nevertheless, that’s what I have right now: faith. That, or a strong belief that things will work themselves out the best way they see fit. So whatever you want to call it, I’m going off what my gut is telling me (and what my brain is arguing is an illogical way of life).
As I mentioned before, I have moved eight times in New York, and that’s over the course of three years. Compared to other people I met, that’s about average. To the more fortunate ones, it’s pretty damn crazy. In my book, it’s just part of the journey.
I was going to preface this blog with a little blurb about my grandma, since she is the reason I decided to write this blog in the first place. It was going to be worded very eloquently and describe what an amazing woman she was all around. I think what I’m about to tell you will attest to that, so I’m going to leave it as is. Except I feel I should say that she was the only biological grandparent I knew, and one of my favorite people on earth. Oh, and she was a fiery, mustang driving, SF Giants fanatic, that loved pie as much as I do, and valued family above anything else. Those are my memories of her at least.
When I was home in California last week, my mom and I watched a video that we recorded back in 1997 (I think it was 97. I had the haircut of a twelve year old boy, so that seems about right). It was of my grandma giving a tour of San Francisco, her home for the first thirteen or so years of her life. My aunt drove my two cousins, my mom, grandma, and I around the city in her station wagon, and we stopped at eleven different locations. Yes, my grandma moved close to eleven times by the age of twelve. Sound familiar?
It was truly remarkable to watch this video again. To see my grandma recall all the apartments and houses she lived in as a child (and here I am, hardly able to remember the address of my second apartment in New York, but I digress). Her mother, my great-grandmother, was not the best at raising a child. She brought my grandma into many situations people would be astonished to hear about today. At one point, she and her boyfriend at the time had taken my grandma from Arizona (or Arkansas?) to Texas, and from there to San Diego. While she was attending school in the second grade there, a couple of detectives picked her up off the playground and took her back to San Francisco because her aunt and family friends didn’t know what happened to her. After that, she continued her life in San Francisco, and shared in some very bittersweet memories. I mean, there's a lot more to this, guaranteed, but this is just to give you a sample of the kind of life she led as child.
At the end of the video, my grandma stopped narrating from her journals and looked at those looking at her on the other side of the camera. She said this message was specifically for her grandchildren. She hoped that we would never smoke like she did (from the age of 18 until 72), and that we were able to enjoy our lives in the best way possible. That we would be able to remember the moments and keep in mind that above all, family is the most important thing. This was a woman made of pure strength and faith. No question about that.
Still, I don’t feel like the words I’ve shared with you have done justice to my grandma or the amazing woman she was. She and I always had a special connection of some sort. While growing up, my cousins and I would call her “Grandma Cookie,” because she would give us tons of cookies when we saw her. A couple years ago I went on a writer’s retreat in Pennsylvania and we were given nicknames for the weekend. We picked random words out of a hat, and those were to be our destined names. I choose the word “Cookie,” and almost burst into tears. There are little reminders every now and then that my grandma is with me. She is watching over me, guiding me, making sure I’m doing okay. I definitely know she’s with me now as I make these big life transitions, continuing to cheer me on and telling me not to stress as much as I do. It’s only life after all.
It’s because of people like my grandma that I have the strength (and the faith) to push forward as new ventures arise. I feel very fortunate to have such amazing people in my life. Whether they are with me now, or are watching over me, I would not be the person I am today without the help and guidance of my family and friends.
I didn’t devise a way to end this blog. There’s no music video or cute photo to close it. I’m not even sure where to go from here (Whoa! Total life metaphor right there!). Regardless, things will work themselves out, as they always do. Life will happen whether I want it to or not. And if all else fails, there’s always beer and kale chips to join me at the end of a long day.
Copyright © 2019 Christine Drew Benjamin | All Rights Reserved