I keep going back to this photo taken by my 8 year old cousin on the eve of my mother’s birthday this year. So much joy and ease in this picture. It makes me slow down and feel giddy. Quite often (in the absence of tension), I feel like a girl child when I am in the presence of my grandmother. Child and girl are not easy energies for me to tap into at this age. That beginner’s energy tempered by self assuredness and self determination. The hungering for stories and lessons. The mimicry. The aloofness when it comes to manners. The love that sometimes expresses itself as reverence and devotion. My grandmother speaks and I devour her words. I come from my mother, who comes from her mother. I have learned and unlearned tenderness here. Over and over.