By Zelda Arditte
I often describe myself as an old lady. I’m not 90 yet but in just three years I’ll reach that August pinnacle. Ninety has an air of finality about it, maybe because Leo died a month or two past 90.
When I don’t get a phone call or an email I’ve been hoping for from one of my sons, my grandchildren, or my many nieces and nephews, I remind myself that the young have busy lives and other things to do with their limited uncommitted hours, that I need to wait for my turn. Geography is no help; my loved ones are scattered across the United States like wildflowers.
So when my granddaughter Kimberly – – I know everyone calls her Kim, but to me she’ll always be Kimberly – – set her wedding in Rhode Island, I decided to make the trip from California. And to make sure I was noticed, I vowed to walk down the aisle. That was not an idle boast; I hadn’t walked for quite a while, ambulating mostly with my electric scooter to ease the strain on my aching back. I simply announced my intentions. I didn’t give the bride a chance to say, “Don’t’ bother.”
I told coach Dario, “Teach me how.” I took lessons three times a week and learned to walk 30 feet on the wood floor, which I expected to walk on. It turned out to be wet grass, not wood, but I did it! I walked down the aisle at the very front of the wedding procession.
Getting me to the wedding in Rhode Island and back home to Thousand Oaks after it, required help from my sons, from my granddaughter Sarah, and various other relatives, but they got me there and back safely and comfortably.
The bride and groom visited me a couple of years later. They walked Villa Circle up into the hills while I rode beside them on my trusted scooter. It was a wonderful visit. I recorded it all in my head and I visit it often. They promised they’d be back but I didn’t expect that to ever happen. After all, the ink on their PhDs was still wet. They’d have to work in their respective fields, start a family, and get on with their lives. Let them be well. Let them be happy. I’m grateful for the time they gave me.
Now they are three: Kimberly and Daniel plus Caleb Lucas, my great-grandson. I’ve seen the little boy’s face on my computer and on Skype. They tell me they’re coming to see me here in Thousand Oaks in a month or two. More than I expected in one life. Much more.