Yesterday was an interesting day. I knew that my gift for the day would be sharing my time and knowledge with my cousin. I didn't know where it would lead.
I rarely get to see my cousins. When we were kids, in the years between Dad coming home from the Vietnam War in '69 and receiving his commission in '75, we lived in the same town as my cousins on my mom's side. We were stair step kids of sorts with my cousin Kraig and I square in the middle. His two siblings older than us, my two sisters younger than us. We played together at our homes and at my Granny's, and we really enjoyed one another. After Dad received his commission, we left Evansville and started moving whereever the Air Force took us. For me that meant 13 schools in far less than that number of years, different countries etc. "Home" became Granny's house and she would travel to see us and us to her as often as possible. When we were in Florida, she brought my cousins with her on the trip and then I went back with the four of them to Grans. It was a road trip we would not forget.
Over the years as we grew up, our trips became less and less frequent. College and marriages got in the way, and even when we would return to Grans we might not get together. In fact, in the three years since I have moved back to Indiana, I have seen my cousins at family events more often than I had seen them in the previous 20 years combined.
Recently, my parents have been redoing a lot of "stuff" in their house. When they got to the final room, they hired my oldest cousin to come and paint for them. They had done the other rooms but this was their formal living room the last room to be done and they wanted it done right the first time. While he was there, he and dad were on the computer one day looking for something and he was blown away by how fast dad's computer went. It seems that he had a very old computer and was still on dial-up (oh the horror!) because they still don't have cable out where he lives. Mom and Dad got ahold of me and asked me about our computer sale at the store. We had a few left, so I arranged to get one for him and met Mom and Dad for dinner(I posted about it that night) and hand off the PC.
A little later, Dad asked me if I would- next time I was in town- help my cousin get set up with his computer as I am the family "techie". I agreed right away, but as I thought about it- there was some trepidation. You see, he bought my Gran's house. I haven't been there since she died a few years ago and I was afraid that it would hurt a lot to walk into the house that we called "home". Despite this, I steeled myself and off I went.
So- my gift yesterday was the time (almost 6hours) and knowledge that it took to get him set up on DSL and load all sorts of programs on to his computer so that he is able to just hit the ground running. When I pulled in the driveway I felt the loss of my Gran wash over me but as I stepped in the house it wasn't all of the things that are the same that I noticed, it was the differences. Even though it looked as if she could have still been there because it is mostly the same- there were enough subtle differences that it didn't FEEL like hers anymore. That gave me a sense of peace and relief and enabled me to close the door on "Granny's house" once and for all.