Every single time I step out of the shower, my routine is the same. Towel dry, reach for the Jergen’s. I’ve been using Jergen’s since I was old enough to buy my own lotion. Even in our poorer days, I stood in the aisles of Target debating with myself how on earth I could justify spending the money on a bottle of lotion for myself. Then one day I discovered that Target was producing a generic, with the same scent.
I walked to my car, shopping bag in hand. I had my lotion, and zero guilt. It was marvelous.
It wasn’t until about a year ago that I allowed myself to go back to the name brand, and while 4 little mouths to feed and clothe and provide medical insurance for, have made sure we’re not wondering what to do with all this extra money at the end of every month, we’re doing a bit better than our days of searching for change to put gas in the car.
As a result of my daily shower habit, and consequently my Jergen’s habit, I time travel every single day. Within seconds of pumping a bit of the white cream into my hands, I am back in my grandmother’s house and we’re having a sleepover. I’m in the trundle bed, and she’s just come into the room, hair still wet and her green robe zipped all the way up. She sits on the bed, removes her glasses, and reaches for the Jergen’s on the bottom shelf of her nightstand. I settle in while she applies it.
I’m comfortable. I’m safe. I’m happy.
Then we proceed to talk the night away in the dark room with the light of the glow-in-the-dark stars all over the ceiling shining down on us.
I ask about heaven and hell. I tell her about my friends, the boys I pretend to be annoyed with. She tells me about growing up with crazy fun brothers and an independent mother. Her voice softens when she talks about her “Daddy”. We talk about books and movies and American Girl dolls. I never talk about my parents. I rarely talk about my siblings. For a week every summer, I’m just me.
And my grandma is my biggest fan.
Every minute of my summer stays sunk deep into my marrow and even today, they are some of my clearest memories. These days, there are no week long summer stays, though how I wish I could pack my blue vinyl duffle with the bright pink hearts all over it and hope over to her guestroom. I’d make brownies every night after dinner.
Instead, there are weekly phone calls. I still tell her all about the boys in my life, granted they are the precious little guys in my own home and not the ones on the playground or hanging around my locker anymore. Every now and then, I still ask her questions of heaven and hell. And once in a great while she surprises me and asks me one of her own. Sometimes I talk about my parents. Sometimes I mention my siblings and the lives they are leading. Because I’m all grown up now, and all those things have changed and not changed. We talk about my grandpa, about what faithfulness looks like at their season. I hear “walk humbly” whispered into my heart. As she talks and lives and walks, I think how lost I’ll be someday without her guidance. And then I shoo the thoughts away because I am rich. I have her now and I’ve had her for so long.
And that is wealth beyond measure, for a granddaughter to be so near the heartbeat of such a woman.
She’s slip on shoes striding around her garden. She’s handmade clothes for my favorite dolls. She’s a vase of roses on the piano, the first thing I notice as I walk down the aisle toward my groom on my wedding day. She’s lunches out and dinners in. She’s Pert Plus shampoo samples set out for my visit. She’s choked up tears as she surveys her family, and speaks of her God. She’s trips to the book shop and shopping sprees at the Dollar Store. She’s a power mower and bonfire builder. She’s talent shows and singing off key. She’s sleepovers and late nights. She’s hard choices and morning readings from the King James. She’s Jergen’s lotion and deep security.
And I’m her biggest fan.