Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Nanny is moving

Throughout my entire life my Nanny has lived within about 10 miles of me.  I guess really it is the other way around since she has only moved once in my lifetime...from the house in which my mom grew up to her current apartment.  For years we had been saying, "Nanny is getting old."  For the past few years we have been saying, "Nanny is old."  

Last winter and spring were particularly hard for and on her.  She was sick often and it was a harsh winter so she did not get out very often.  As much as I want to see her often and help her with the her daily needs, I cannot.  I feel guilty that I have not been able to help her in the ways in which I want.  I speak to her often and see her at least monthly.  She sees Lilly more often because she goes to see her at my mom's house while I am at work.  

That is all changing next week.  Nanny is moving in with my aunt and uncle in Pennsylvania.  Oddly enough, Nanny was born and raised in PA and moved to NJ as a young woman.  She will be about an hour and 45 minutes away.  I will not be able to see her very often now.  My aunt and uncle want us to feel as if we can visit anytime.  But the truth is, we won't be able to make a monthly trip out there.  And really, I am not sure that is even what I am mourning right now.

The thing is, Nanny is not taking her stuff. She will take her favorite chair and her personal items.  But she is giving away her furniture, dishes, etc.  She will not be taking her ancient microwave on which you dial the amount of time you want.  She is not taking her television that is really a piece of furniture.  I wonder if she will take with her that Nanny-house scent?  It moved with her from her house at "188" to her apartment in Troy Towers.  

People keep saying that she has not died and I know.  However, the kind of relationship I had with her is dying.  She attends all my family's birthday celebrations.  The ones we have on a Wednesday night, not just big ones and she brings the brownies and fruit salad.  I took her with me to see one of my ultrasounds when I was pregnant with Lilly.  I learned how to make meatballs by watching her when I would go over for dinner every few weeks.  When I was in college I would drive by her house on my way home and if the downstairs lights were on, I would stop by.  She would heat up a little dinner for me and we would sit and chat late into the night.  After her open heart surgery I stayed with her for awhile when she was allowed to come home.   When I lived the next town over I took her to Mass on Sundays and then she made us breakfast.

I know that I am incredibly lucky to have had that kind of relationship with my Nanny.  My cousins have never lived this close to her and I am the eldest by a mile (or 8 years!) so our relationship is particularly unique.  I wrote above that our relationship is changing next week.  Truthfully, it has been gradually changing for a long time.  Having a family of my own necessarily changed my life and my availability.  


I have realized that as hard as this is for me, it must be a hundred times harder for my mom.  She moved out of her parent's house when she was 17 years old and got married and had me.  But she has lived in the same county, even, as her mom her entire life.  As much as we all know that Nanny will get a lot of great care at my aunt's house (she is a nurse and my uncle is a doctor) it is still a really, really tough transition.  I won't get into the inner workings of my family politics, but you all know that there is always stuff, politics and whatnot, that go on with something as big as this.  My mom was the first of the seven children to move out of the house, but she has lived the closest, mileage wise.  The other six are scattered around the country and have lived a lot of other places between moving out and settling down.  The difference is that they chose to make that move for whatever reason...job, spouse, whim.  I just know that my mom is probably very sad about this move, even if she thinks it is best for her mom.  Because of all this I am really going to try and make a conscious effort to be kind to my mom and remember what she is dealing with right now.  I will try to act with love and not react with anger.  Maybe by handling things this way it will help heal my heart that is a little bit broken right now.
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