Friday, October 2, 2009

Time to Ourselves

My Nana was a wonderful woman. As a child I thought she was the source of all happy things. Whenever Nana could be with me she was, and she always made life seem magical. We baked cookies. We wore aprons and she let me sift the flour, spoon the dough onto the baking sheet, and then lick the bowl. She brought me any stuffed animal I asked for, even when I requested a kangaroo with a little joey. My favorite thing of all though was when she spread a bed sheet on the carpet of her parlor and brought me her train case of costume jewelry. I could play with the jewels as long as they and I stayed on the sheet. I stuck her clip-on earrings on my baby earlobes and looped strands of costume pearls around my neck. I remember marcasite brooches and enamel pins. Clunky bracelets of gold and glass would slip off my hands and if any rolled off the sheet, her dog Mitzi would always nose them back on again, as if in some conspiracy with me to keep the magic there.

Even at the tender age of seven months I could already feel the intoxication of crystal energy...

Nana died when I was around five years old. My last living memory of her is of me standing in the parking lot of the hospital and watching her wave to me from a window. She remains my most steadfast spirit guide, and helps me daily.

Back in the time I describe, the time when I was little, Nana would tell me stories. She would pull me, crinoline and all, onto her lap, and smooth my hair and talk in low tones and we would giggle together. One of my favorite tales was of Gran-mere Mellie. Nana told me that Gran-mere Mellie was a beautiful powerful woman who was one of my great grandmothers from long ago. Gran-mere Mellie lived with her husband, my Great Granpa, and they were very happy. She told me how Gran-mere Mellie loved to take baths and always had the finest salts and talcum powders. Through Nana I developed an appreciation for the art of bathing not just for cleanliness, but for relaxation and rejuvenation. Since those childhood times the water and especially the salts have brought me back from the brink time and time again.

Nana told me it was always important that I remember to take long soaks when life was challenging. She would draw me a bath and sit by the tub while I soaked and played with float toys. We laughed at my conjoined toes and she told me that my little webbers were Gran-mere Mellie giving me a sign that I was one of her daughters.

Nana and my Grandpa had separate bedrooms and I remember once I asked Nana why they didn’t share a room. She laughed and told me that all women need their own room and some time for themselves. She told me that she loved my Grandpa, and that he loved her. In fact, she said, he loved her so much that he gave her a room of her own. This struck me as the height of romantic love. I adored her room. She had a collection of porcelain figurines and statues of men and women from the eighteenth century, Louis Quinze stuff I later learned. She had perfume and face cream and dressing gowns and all sorts of pretty feminine, girly things. Her room was in French provincial, while Grandpa’s was in heavy dark oak. She loved anything French. Images of Chanticleer dominated that kitchen we baked in. He now dominates mine.

Nana and Gran-mere Mellie knew what all wise women know: that we women give so much to others that we need regular time to ourselves to restore our energy and our magic.

So this weekend of the Full Moon, I’m going to set my crystals out to recharge. And I’m also going to retreat for a day of silence (and yes, ritual bathing) to rejuvenate.

See you later.


  1. Your Nana was indeed a wise woman. I love to soak in the bath, and will do so until the water is too cool to warm up again. I love nothing more than a nice deep bathtub. If I was forced to live somewhere with only a shower I think I would go mad.
    The separate bedroom story is also of interest. My grandmother also had a bedroom of her own. To my mind this shows an aristocratic mindset. My mother is scornful of the arrangement, her generation sees it as unfriendly, and harmful to marriage.
    I can't say which was the better marriage, but I know which was the stronger woman!!

  2. I wish I had known Nana. When did things go so horribly awry? I will draw strength from her, and you, my living flesh and blood. When Kate died, I would average a bath or two per day as a means of coping with my grief. I only have a shower stall now, but I can soak with candles and salts in my mind. We are strong. <3 Sharon