Magical creatures, who always used to make pierogis after school, who sang lullabies on those sleepless nights and spoiled you to death; who still put the kettle on for a comforting herbal cuppa when needed.
I am lucky to have a Grandma, who is that but also so much more.
Although there is half a century age gap between us, me and my Grandma have been as thick as thieves ever since I can remember.
Through the years, I’ve undergone a million of changes, but she stayed exactly the same. Always in the city centre at noon, yet having her turkish coffee in a different cafe every day, as she curses those that can’t prepare it exactly the way she takes it (the fact that some baristas can make it at all is already quite astonishing to me).
Always with that deadly, but somehow equally extremely classy thin menthol cigarette between her fingers, her blonde and grey hair everlastingly tied with a neckerchief in a wobbling, messy bun on top of her head. The most beautiful 70-year-old on the planet and only I get the privilege to call her ‘Grandma’.
A few weeks ago I went to a spontaneous screening of what ended up being a slightly tweaked adaptation of our relationship on screen – a story of Elle (the titular ‘Grandma’ in the film), a slightly quirky, sharp-tongued feminist poet in her 70s, who drives around town in a denim jacket, trying to help her pregnant granddaughter get an abortion while insulting, well.. everyone she meets.
From what I have written so far, you may get a very idyllic picture, but my personal Grandma, just like Elle, is not always easy to be around. She mumbles nasty things about people passing by, knowing they can hear her every word. She can return her coffee three times in a space of an hour because it was brewed in a wrong mug or came with and inadequate amount of ice cubes on the side, she can be outrageous and inappropriate, talking about the sexual pecularities of Bonobo monkeys in public (is it a coincidence there’s a ‘Bonobo’ cafe in the film?)
Yet having a friend and a relative in one is a blessing I will always embrace fully, with all the eccentricities that come in the package.
My ‘Friend Grandma’ has the best taste in clothing and is always honest when it comes to trying it on (basically, if my ass looks fat, she is not paying for it). She pours me gin when I come round and has an endless collection of hilarious anecdotes that will never run out of her memory.
My ‘Grandma Grandma’ has taught me how to be the colourful bird within the crowd, kept every secret I have shared with her since I started talking, and would turn the Earth around with her own hands if that was my wish (going back to the film, she would also surely beat the crap out of my boyfriend if he wasn’t good to me, but that belongs in the ‘Friend Grandma’ category).
If I needed an abortion, she wouldn’t be the one relative I would have kept it from to spare her a heart attack. She would be the first to know.
Extraordinary family members can be embarrassing sometimes. But they provide that extraordinary love you may never get in such amount from anybody else. Although ‘Full Grandma’ may have her little vagaries, befriending her was probably the best thing I have ever done, as she will never leave me – we share blood and great cheekbones, forever.
That same blood will run in my granddaughter one day. Hopefully, we will be best friends too.