I have two memories of being two.
When I turned 2-1/2, my maternal grandparents gave me a little red trike to celebrate the occasion. (I was always a little spoiled. Ok, so I was a lot spoiled….) At the same time, my grandma got an exercise bike and we have a picture of her and I on our new bikes. I remember begging Dad and Gramps to assemble the trike for me. I spent that winter wanting so desperately to ride the trike, but it was too cold and snowy, so that wasn’t going to happen.
Once, my mom relented and brought it into the house so I could peddle up and down the long living room. I did not enjoy having to wait for it to warm up so I wouldn’t stick to the metal seat. I think I even remember having a temper tantrum over that. Or maybe I just whined. I don’t know.
I don’t remember riding it in the summer at all, but that’s probably because it wasn’t being “withheld” from me during the summer like it was in the winter. I know I did use it in the summer — I just don’t have any solid memories of it.
The other memory I have of being two came roughly 2 weeks after I got the trike. That was a very eventful time for me!
It was Thanksgiving, and we had gone to visit Dad’s family. The very long drive seemed even longer to me because I was 2, I was sitting in a very uncomfortable car seat with a numb bum, I had a baby brother who was yelping like somebody was going to kill him or something, and it was cold! I was tired. I was hungry. I was miserable. And I was DONE being in that stupid car.
So, so, SO done.
When we finally arrived, we walked in the house to find Grandma unconscious on the couch. To me, she was just napping. But she was all white and when Dad tried to wake her to let her know we were there, she didn’t respond.
Grandma was a tiny little thing. She weighed under 100 pounds, so my dad picked her up and put her in the van and started off to the hospital. Mom called the police to tell them my dad was speeding through town trying to get his mother to the hospital.
The details of those few days are sketchy. Time means something completely different to a 2-year old than it does to an adult, so I honestly have no idea when stuff happened.
At some point, my dad did what my dad does best…. He took me to lay down to take a nap. I was a very perceptive kid and was exceptionally good at picking up on emotion. I knew Dad was sad and maybe a little angry and he didn’t do much sleeping, so I knew something was wrong. I think that’s the only time I’ve ever witnessed him having a problem taking a nap.
When I woke up, everybody was there — except Grandma. The first thing I said upon waking was, “Where’s Grandma?” My mom just looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Grandma died.”
I wore a pink dress with ruffles and tiny, dainty roses to the funeral. It was polyester. (Really, it was! I noted this when I found it in a box of my little girl stuff years later.) Somebody sang “How Great Thou Art” and for years afterward, that song gave me the creeps. There was a dinner. And everybody went home.
They never found out what caused her to die so suddenly. The doctors best guess was that she had a stroke.
One day, Grandma was there, the next day she was gone, we were all in a funny church service singing “creepy” songs, followed by a dinner with people I didn’t know. And Grandma never came back and I didn’t know why. This event had a profound effect on the rest of my life.