Saturday, May 22, 2010

What a Grandson Should Know

Noah's coming to Waco. It's our grandson’s first visit to the Heart of Texas; it's his first visit to our house in Waco; it will be the first time he gets to meet many of our friends. He's coming to a wedding, which should be very exciting. I know Marty and I are excited. Yes, Marty gets excited about Noah. She loves her children but, she loves Noah the most.

Don't get me wrong in any of this. We are grateful for many things. We are glad Marty is still with us and cognizant enough to recognize happiness, small and great. We are glad and grateful we have the resources and capability to care for Marty in a way which makes her life better, which prolongs her life, which allows her to find moments of happiness and satisfaction. We understand it could be worse.

I understand our relative good fortune and the blessing Noah is to all; I really regret what Noah missed in not knowing Marty before she had the strokes. I fear Noah will grow up and will only know and remember his Grandma Kinard as the sick old lady in the wheelchair. Knowing and understanding what he and his future brothers and/or sisters and cousins will miss causes me sadness. That's part of why I write this stuff, so people who didn't know Marty before she was sick can understand what we all miss.

What I want Noah to know about his Grandmother is what I think Marty wants him to know. I want Noah to know how really smart Marty was, what a wonderful mind she had before strokes broke her brain. Marty holds not one, but two advanced degrees, she excelled at academia, she was a master learner. She was one of the best problem solvers I have ever known; she could almost always come up with solutions, some of which were reasonable, but she always had a thought or opinion, about everything.

Marty was an incredibly verbal person and her thoughts and comments were not necessarily bound by decorum or polite society. She saw things differently than many, she felt things more than some and she was effusive about all of it. Basically, I want Noah to know how really smart and unique his Grandmother was.

I want Noah to know that Marty was an amazing Mother. I want him to hear about the Mom who helped Matt put together a battery powered, paper Mache shark for a school project and had scratches from the chicken wire they used to prove it. I want him to hear about the video tape she helped Erin put together for her school presentation about being a physician. I want Noah to know about the time Marty threw Erin a Halloween birthday party and how she wrangled a co-worker and her husband to be gypsy psychics and how they used a walkie-talkie so she could feed these faux gypsies information about each of the kids. We all laughed for days as the kids were aghast that these strangers knew so much about them.

Noah needs to know that Marty was an excellent teacher, that she taught physicians to be better teachers and coaches. I want Noah to know how Marty gave speeches and presented seminal papers and made a difference in the lives of people who save lives. I want Noah to understand the impact Marty had on people and how people would come to her to talk and how young girls from church would seek her out for direction and assistance and advice on life.

Mostly what I want Noah to understand is that his Grandmother was an amazing woman. More importantly I want him to understand she still is an amazing woman. Marty’s will to survive when surviving seems impossibly hard, her drive to improve when improvement comes only with concerted patience and sweat, and her desire to think when the simple act of thinking requires tremendous concentration and effort overshadows all of the rest of her life.

I want Noah to understand that what Marty has done throughout her life is exceptional, but her life the last five years has been nothing short of amazing and while she may look like the broken woman in a wheelchair he needs to see what I see and I what I everyday is a hero.

1 comment:

Donna Domingo said...

Marty is, indeed, an exceptional person. I only knew Marty in college and a few years, thereafter, (sadly, we lost contact after that) and she had all the qualities you describe. I wish I had known the Marty you speak of here. Noah will know ALL about her through you, Matt, Erin and the rest of her family and friends, whose lives she had an impact on and continues to touch.