Nora Caitlin and her Great-Grandmother, Margaret McBrierty Ryan

My mind crowds with a wave of unexpected thoughts when I look at this picture. Thoughts that surprise me, unbidden and long dormant. Memories, nostalgic musings of time passing, feeling like it wasn’t so long ago that I sat in the place of my little girl. Not so long ago that I had a great-grandmother to love. Not so long ago that I heard Grandma Mac’s lilting voice tell me that I was a good kid and she was proud of me. Not so long ago that we would visit her, and each time, she would ask me if I was still practicing the piano, encouraging me to make sure I kept it up. I used to wonder why she cared that I continued to play. But I’m glad I did. Sometimes I’ll think of her, when I sit at the piano, playing while the kids sing at the top of their lungs behind me. And in those moments, I’m glad I kept it up. She used to ask me about school, if I was doing the work, if I was reading enough books, making sure I didn’t take it for granted. It wasn’t so long ago that I looked into her Irish eyes and saw kindness and the mark of experience, her deepened wrinkles and white hair showing the passing of years. I thought she was beautiful, had a beautiful name- ‘Nora’. And now I wonder if it was really the name that was anything to remark on, or if she made it seem that way. She was kind-hearted and quiet, gently interested in our lives. She made me feel like she cared, like I was her favorite. But I think we all felt that way.

Somehow it’s sobering to see this image, the evidence of time, to realize that my grandmother, Grandma Mac’s daughter, is now a great-grandmother to my little girl.

I look at this photo, this little girl, and the wave of thoughts turn into one conclusion-

I’m glad we named her Nora.


January 3, 2011 - 3:13 pm

Minna - I LOVE this picture it is great of Grandma :)

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