This past Sunday was my paternal Grandma’s 101st birthday. She has been gone 9 years now, but all the same. I had a feeling my next tarot story would be about her and sure enough . . .
Page of Swords
- Minor Arcana—intellectual/immature energy
- astrology: the Air signs
- basic themes: messenger of challenge and an opportunity for growth
I was always upsetting her. Of course, I was a willful child, rebellious and sassy.
She was from a very different time—we had little in common.
She came of age during the Depression; I am a child of the 80’s and teen of the 90’s.
Different as different could be.
So, yeah I rarely did much that didn’t rub her the wrong way. She never was mean to me or too harsh. No, never.
There was just ALWAYS an air of nervous disapproval.
I remember one summer day, I was about 7 or 8, and had spent the whole morning fussing and fighting with her over things I don’t even remember now. She was such a gentle soul but I found her discipline ridiculous and ran roughshod over her at every opportunity.
Eventually, I felt bad about the way I was acting that morning and wanted very much to make it up to her.
Of course, there was only one thing to be done. I gathered my markers and construction paper and proceeded to make her an apology card. Duh! It was going to be awesome and it was going to make everything OK.
I worked on it most of the afternoon, stealthily keeping my gift hidden from her, so not to spoil the surprise. I used words in the message portion I had to look up in the dictionary for correct spelling and I HATED looking words up in the dictionary. I layered shapes and hearts and “I Love You”s all over that m’ fer. I worked and reworked some parts endlessly to get the sentiment just so.
And when it was done—it was absolute perfection.
I was soooo confident, as only a Leo Moon can be, that my Grandma would love it and all would be forgiven.
I caught her while she was doing laundry in the back room of the old farm house and happily gave her my work of art. I watched as she read it and was probably grinning the biggest, dumbest grin ever. I was so proud of myself.
I clearly remember expecting her to burst into tears and hug me until I was black and blue all over. I just knew it was coming!!
Well, when she finished reading, she closed the card and naturally thanked me for it—
But then she handed it right back to me, looked me straight in the eye and informed me that if I was truly sorry and if I truly loved her I would act right from the start and there would be no need for a card.
And that, guys, was it—she walked out of the room, leaving me holding my precious tome. Dumbfounded.
I honestly didn’t understand. I would have been over the moon if someone had made ME a card. I completely balked at her whole reaction. Her words just went through my brain as jibber-jabber.
I was indignant and thought she was clearly nuts.
She went back to her work and I went back to my play. And that was it.
As it turns out our differences were fundamentally more than generational.
Not only are our Moons in opposition (Aquarius to Leo), my Virgo Sun at 1º ever so sharply opposed her Sun at 3º Pisces. And our Cardinal Mars’ each squared the other’s Air Pluto.
I would intermittently come across that card for years to come. It never really had a home, just got shuffled from one corner of the house to another. It might still be around somewhere, or maybe I finally threw it out as a teenager, I don’t remember.
It took me two more decades of life and getting my heart shattered by a boy to ultimately understand her words that day. I would have saved myself shit tons of pain and suffering if I had gotten the clue from her instead. But no, gotta learn everything the hard way, of course.
Writing, right now, those sage clichés of ‘a tree remembers what the ax soon forgets‘ and ‘you can’t unring a rung bell‘ echo through my head.
Oh, how she was right and, man, could I ever be a shitty little hellion when the mood hit.
Ah, well, like most of us, I’d give my left arm to have one more afternoon with her. And I’d hopefully have the sense not to fuss at all.
Happy birthday, Grandma! I love you!