Always Choose To Dance

9th May 2012

Grandma and Grandpa. Grandpa had his own tattoo by this point. And my Dad has a version of the same one.

I spent much of my first year at University pulling all-nighters with my friends.  We would raid the vending machine down the hall, try to stuff each other into the washing-machines and make plans to go bungee-jumping.  I also had them draw me a hideously clichéd tattoo.  Of course.

Some more time was spent figuring out how I might get inked without actually climbing the walls.  The Plan involved getting drunk and stoned.  What was the plan?

Anyway, my point is this.  You can say I’m grateful for my heightened fright reflex.  It has kept me from hideously clichéd, teenaged tattoos that seemed like ‘an amazing idea’ at the time.

I’d like to think my taste has changed.  I used to be attracted to men who said ‘the sky’ when I said ‘what’s up?’  I thought they were sages.  I’ve learned they were assholes.  My point is, I’ve matured.

And so has my idea for a tattoo.  For years, I’ve been thinking of getting a WWMD? on my wrist.  Not for Marilyn.  For Madelyn and Molly, my Grandmothers.  And for me.

They were both Big Deals in my life, and their earthly absence has changed who I am and how I do things.

Every decision I’ve made, I’ve wondered what they think.

Don’t quit school, you’ll see.  Thank God, he’s gone.  He couldn’t even use a fork.  Use a fork!  We like that one, he’s the one.  But I’m not sure about the cheese thing.  Oh, go on.  And always choose to dance.

I sit in front of Madelyn’s picture and ask her to guide me.  To be with me.  I have Pizzaiola for my birthday, but it’s never as good as Molly used to make.

I wish every day that all four of my Grandparents knew Sarge.  They’d love him.  A little weird, but so are you, they’d say.  And so, good for them, they’d say.

I’m loving this wedding-planning thing.  Really, I am.  But every decision Sarge and I make is something else my Grandparents can’t share.  And that’s hard for me.  Really, it is.

When I chose a dress, I asked Dad, ‘Would Grandma like it?’

‘What would Nana think?’ I asked Mom on the phone.  ‘Have you considered beading?’ she asked.

See, I haven’t been planning my wedding since I was six, but I always thought Madelyn and Chuck and Molly and Pete would be there.  I made them promise.

I know that they held on as long as they could, that incomprehensible things made those pinky swears impossible to honour.

But the kid in me, the Granddaughter who lived to make each of them smile in their own ways, wants to cry: but you promised!

When I was a kid, I ploughed into them after playing Munckin Number 3 in the Wizard of Oz and then again after various talent shows.  How’d I do?  How’d I do?

Nana and Poppy, looking around. With some Aunts and Uncles. At a wedding, I believe. How apt.

I’d like to think, on my wedding day, sitting there with my husband, they’ll say:  You did good, Lorna.  You two keep dancing.  We’ll be here.  Now, about that tattoo…

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  • Reply urbannight 9th May 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Hey, guess what? You’ve been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award, that’s what! Congrats, and here are the rules (in case you don’t already know)
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    And when ready, announce this on your site and be sure to post the picture from the VBA site: http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/

  • Reply urbannight 9th May 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I was very sad that most of my grandparents won’t be around if I ever marry. At this rate, my remaining Grandmother may not either as the odds of getting married grow slimmer with each passing year.

    As for the tattoo, I also wanted one since high school. But I waited until I was 32 to get my first. I wanted to make sure I really knew who I was so that I wouldn’t be stuck with things I would regret. It’s worked well for me.

  • Reply Carol 9th May 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Tattoos are so permanent, it’s probably a good thing you did not scale the walls to get one! I’m sure Madelyn and Molly are watching over you, enjoying every moment of your planning and they will be with you at your wedding.

    • Reply LKD 10th May 2012 at 9:49 am

      I’d love to get one, but needles don’t like me.

  • Reply Nicole 9th May 2012 at 6:35 pm

    I’m too afraid of pain to ever get a tattoo, but I’m always interested by what designs people pick. To me the best tattoos are one’s that hold meaning so it’s probably a good idea you didn’t get one on a whim. I love your idea because if I ever did become brave enough to get a tattoo, I’d have to get two: one for my Grandma Marilyn and another for my Great Aunt Pabla.

    • Reply LKD 10th May 2012 at 9:51 am

      Let me know if you ever get one, or two!

  • Reply barefoot_med_student 9th May 2012 at 7:26 pm

    What a beautiful post. I have one grandparent left. I love her so much. I pray every day that she will be at my wedding, and the birth of my kids, and I want to cry just thinking of the alternative. Hugs to you for the sad times.

    As for a tattoo – I’m not scared of pain, luckily, which is why I’m a pierced little porcupine. But I’ve never seriously considered a tattoo. Until my mom recently asked me if I was interested in one. My MOTHER, I tell you!

    • Reply LKD 10th May 2012 at 9:52 am

      Your mom is pretty cool!

  • Reply True STORIES. 9th May 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Lovely post.

  • Reply Valerie {all mussed up} 9th May 2012 at 11:59 pm

    This is very sweet.

    My grandma always laughs and threatens to disinherit us granddaughters from her sizable jewelry collection should we get tattooed. A WWMD? tattoo might be different though…she adores flattery. 😉

    • Reply LKD 15th May 2012 at 3:04 pm

      Thank you, I’m glad I found your blog!

  • Reply John Duff 10th May 2012 at 12:35 am

    So insightful. Cloyless pathos & humour. Perfectly balanced. Except when she stands up, of course. MCMP Seal of Approval, with a twist. That’s my lassie.

    • Reply LKD 10th May 2012 at 9:53 am

      Comment of my life! xox

  • Reply Karen 10th May 2012 at 3:36 am


    • Reply LKD 15th May 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks, Karen!

  • Reply Karin 10th May 2012 at 4:03 am

    That’s pretty damn good. Loved it.

    • Reply LKD 10th May 2012 at 9:55 am

      I did enjoy writing it, considering. xox

  • Reply Karin 10th May 2012 at 4:09 am

    A nice one for the definitive collection of short stories, the follow-up to your best seller.

    • Reply LKD 10th May 2012 at 9:57 am

      And did I mention I love your comments? xox

  • Reply redjim99 10th May 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Really nice words,


    • Reply LKD 15th May 2012 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks Jim, I appreciate it!

  • Reply Bella 10th May 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Lorna, something tells me Madelyn and Molly are going to have front row seats at your wedding! I find it comforting to believe that our loved ones continue to watch over us when they pass away. Silly as this sounds, there are times when I even feel their presence. Usually it’s during times of absolute bliss or great depression which further reiterates that good or bad times, they’re always there! 🙂

    • Reply LKD 15th May 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Bella, I feel my people, too. They never leave us , just move into our hearts!

  • Reply Ginny Marie 11th May 2012 at 1:46 pm

    What a sweet post! I was so grateful that my mom’s parents were able to meet one of their grandbabies. (I never knew my dad’s parents. They both died before I was born.) They were so proud to be great-grandparents! They have been gone for a few years now, but I will always miss them.

  • Reply misssrobin 12th May 2012 at 4:51 pm

    This is a beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing. You brought tears to my eyes. What an incredible relationship you had with your grandparents. You are so blessed to have had that.

    I have one grandma that was this way for me. She was the person who always made me feel valued and loved. I miss her so much. Thank you for reminding me to think of her today.

    Stopping by from SITS. Happy Saturday.

    • Reply LKD 12th May 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks, Robin. I know I was lucky and I’m glad you can relate. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Reply bricks-and-cents 12th May 2012 at 5:11 pm

    wow! You write really well and I loved the story you had to tell! It was a beautiful way to remember your grandparents!

  • Reply Julie Jordan Scott (@juliejordanscot) 12th May 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Ahhh, I love remembering… and am sad at the things that are missed. I explained to Samuel the other day how I want him to share my stories with his grandchildren since they won’t get to meet me. He couldn’t understand that, so it lead to quite an interesting conversation. I can feel the love pouring through your words. Brava!

    • Reply LKD 15th May 2012 at 3:08 pm

      Thanks, Julie. That means a lot coming from you. There is a lot of love floating around!

  • Reply martinisandminivans 12th May 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I love how you feel about your grandmothers – I can relate. Found your blog via SITS. Here’s my recent entry about my own grandmother. http://martinisandminivans.com/2012/04/13/my-grandmother-is-dying-not-her-body-but-her-mind/

    Great blog! Glad I found ya!

    • Reply LKD 15th May 2012 at 3:10 pm

      I’m glad I found you, too!

  • Reply The Hobbler 16th May 2012 at 1:19 am

    You may have already heard, but as one of my followers I would like to invite you to my bad girl blog: http://nothobblingnow.wordpress.com/

  • Reply Madame Weebles 17th May 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Both of mine died before I was born, so I think it’s great that you had both of your grandmothers in your life in such a meaningful way. Thank you for this!

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