Grandma always used to wear socks with flip flops around the house. So much so that we grandkids thought she only had two toes on each foot.
Later, Elecia and I lovingly referred to this peculiar sock/shoe combo as Grandma's "moose toes."
Today I was rushing around to go pick up Eliot at daycare and couldn't find my slip-on shoes. The only pair sitting handy by the back door were my flip flops. But I was wearing socks. So, in the spirit of Grandma, I donned moose toes and headed out to go get the boy.
I felt like Grandma was smiling down on me today, just like Granddaddy is there with me everytime a waiter asks, "How do you like your eggs?"
I have these varied reminders in my life of loved ones who have passed on. But their spirits grinning over my shoulder also join with those whom I never got a chance to know. When I can't think of someone's name, I sputter, "Domino!" after a great-grandmother and the family dog whom I never met. She surely couldn't have guessed that her frustration at a failing memory would become a source of recognition and connection for generations to come.
These connections comfort me. It's impossible to feel alone when the universe sends reminders that I am surrounded by family, both present and past. Memory can have a tangible, touchable presence. It's a shoe with socks, a scrambled egg on a breakfast plate. It is bits of personality and individual quirks, phrases repeated and adopted until they weave a web of familiarity around us, as comfortable and as precious as an heirloom quilt.
This is what I have been given. This is what I shall wrap myself in.
(Zayda: the next generation of moose toes!)