Janet "Nana" & Harry "Poppa" Blustein -- wedding photo, 1945If my beloved Nana were still alive, today would be her 90th birthday. She was born on Tuesday, May the 3rd of 1921 and passed away nearly three years ago on September 3rd. I was truly blessed to have Nana physically in this world for the first 23 years of my life and her memory continues to be a blessing as I strive to become the woman today she knew I already was long before I'd ever come to accept or understand that.
Nana was not a fan of most technology. I believe she and my late grandfather, whom I affectionately call Poppa, maxed out on their attempts to keep up with technological advances around 1974. That being said, a memorial site was made in her honor when she passed away. (I can hear it now: "Nu, how they sit around all day in front of that damn computer! Always with the "dot-coms!" Boy how she hated everything ending with a ".com!") Nonetheless, with her notorious Queens accent playing nostalgically like a broken record in the background, I revisited the memorial site today and will lovingly dedicate this blog post to Nana's memory.
I wrote the following after her passing in 2008:
Nana, when I was little, you often told me I knew everything. "That Michelle, she knows everything," you'd say in your thick New York accent. But I now see how much of what I know comes from you, and that is a gift you've left to me, my sister and cousins, my father, and my uncle. You taught me how to enjoy a five-star meal, and then declare "I've had better." You subsequently taught me how to order the cheapest item on the menu, and thus be justified in the previous statement. But in all seriousness, you taught me about love. How to give of myself fearlessly, without expectations. Your love for Poppa was truly the love of a century. Your love for your sons was unconditional. Your love for your grandchildren was unfaltering. You taught me to love myself, and when I ponder over how I will overcome this loss, I remind myself of the your greatest lesson: "That Michelle, she knows everything!"
Time has passed and in its typical way has softened the sharp ache that was left by my Nana's departure. Every so often on a Sunday morning, I will sip my coffee and think to myself "I should call and see how Nana is doing," immediately after which I am reminded that even with all of our technological advancements, my Blackberry does not currently have an app for communication to Heaven. Better yet, though, I don't need an app for that-- I have a direct connection through prayer, and I can talk with Nana any time with no hidden fees or roaming charges!
So today I sit in a local cafe, sipping a mocha I paid $3.00 for (Nana would HATE that) and eating a celebratory treat. It is visibly blustery outside and threatening to rain, but the trees have buds finally and the promise of Spring is around me. I indulge in a quiet moment of reflection as I write. What would Nana think of me today? Sure, she kvelled about my wisdom and talents--doesn't every grandmother do that? But I think I understand even more today what she meant when telling the world that her 3-year-old, 13-year-old, or 23-year-old granddaughter, Michelle, "knows everything," over and over again. She meant that everything I need to survive and thrive in this life is within and around me--all I need to do is reach out with open arms and accept this abundance. If you ever wanted to know a woman with the innate ability to live, love and laugh with open arms and acceptance, it was my Nana. Happy 90th; may your memory be blessing today and always.