And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
Well, we continue living under the auspices of pandemic. It’s not an easy time. People are afraid of the virus, afraid of losing their loved ones, afraid of losing their own lives, afraid of losing their jobs, afraid of losing their businesses. I swear I can feel the shimmer of fear and tension in the air when I go outside. I can definitely feel it in the grocery store and the pharmacy. And I can feel it on the interactions in social media too. Last week, I wrote how we’re trying so hard to put a humorous spin on things. This week, I noticed a huge uptick in anger. Unfortunately, we’re striking out at each other. Those that believe we should continue to keep our states closed are arguing with those that feel the states should be opened up. There’s finger-pointing and name-calling and it’s just a mess.
I’m not above all of it, that’s for sure. I’m afraid for my family that is out there working in this, as essential workers. I’m afraid for my business. Lots of sleepless nights this week.
And yet one thing came through loud and clear. I want to see my granddaughter.
When my oldest son was the first of my four to get married, I wasn’t fifty years old yet. I didn’t want to be a grandmother. In my mind, I kept seeing Grandma Walton and that white-bunned woman from Looney Tunes who owned Tweety Bird. I wasn’t that. I told my son, “If you make me a grandmother before I’m fifty, I will remove the apparatus that made me a grandmother before I was fifty.”
Maya was born when I was fifty-two.
And here’s the thing. My resistance to being a grandmother began to fall away before she was even born. I was with my son and daughter-in-law for one of the ultrasounds. Today’s ultrasounds are phenomenal, and suddenly, on the screen in that darkened room, there was that little face. And she was smiling. Everything in me reached for her. Oh, there she was.
And then she really was there! I was allowed in the delivery room and I saw her being born. I saw my son holding her, saying over and over again, “I’m your daddy! I’m your daddy!” And I held her before she was even an hour old. It causes me to tear up even now.
Throughout her seven years, she’s convinced me that being a grandmother is the best role ever. From her mispronunciations (trees = srees, chocolate = swocwate) to her astute observations to her love of neatness and organization to the constant “Guess whats?”, she has wrapped me up and wrung me out. In one of the original Today’s Moments, I told her she was a fashionista, and when I explained that this meant she expressed herself through her clothes, she stood up straight, thumped her chest and declared, “I am ME!” Oh, yes, she is!
And suddenly…I can’t see her.
I delivered her Easter presents to her front porch and waved at her through their picture window. She stood on the back of her couch so I could see all of her, from head to toe. I stood on the lawn. Any idea how much I wanted to just charge through that front door?
But I didn’t. It’s not safe. For her or for me.
This week, her mother mentioned that Maya seemed stressed. Maya was worried. From a 7-year old perspective, which isn’t that far from everyone else’s, she just knows there’s something that’s making people really sick and she can’t go to school anymore or see her friends or extended family. My daughter-in-law said, “I think she just needs to see that those that she loves are safe.”
And so on Sunday, I began meeting with Maya through Zoom. I dug out a book that I loved when I was her age – yes, I still have it, that’s how much I love it. And on nights when I’m done teaching by 8:00, I read her a chapter.
The first thing she told me when she lit up my screen was that she was organizing her art projects into her art organizer. Ohmygosh.
So…she’s not in front of me, in the flesh. When I say, “Gimme a kiss!”, I’m not presented with that little smooth cheek, since she hasn’t figured out that she’s supposed to be kissing me, not me kissing her. But I love the grandness of her presentation. Now, I can’t touch that little cheek. But I can see it. And I can see those cheekbones perk up when she smiles.
I hear that voice. I hear that giggle. And I see those amazing big, big eyes.
It’ll do. It has to. For now. This will get better.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.