Thursday, November 03, 2016
Today I am grateful for unexpected flashbacks. One of my good friends shared a little boxed saying on Facebook today. When I read it my chest filled up with so much emotion that I thought my heart would fly across the room. Flashback? You bet! Big time. This is what it said. . .
“I love it when my grandchild sees me, screams my name and then runs to me.”
Sweet. Simple. Yet it tore me up. Why? Because a long, long time ago, when my first born granddaughter was little, her parents split up. It’s okay. It happens. Hell, it happened to me and Himself. I’m happy to say that I feel very close to my ex daughter-in-law and even her extended family, husband and other daughter. Having lived in my own glass house, I am hesitant to pick up a stone to throw.
Because of a fresh-start move by my granddaughters mom and her out of state, and for other reasons I’m not sure about, (nor is it any of my business), I did not see my granddaughter for almost her entire third year of life. Tore me up. Ripped my heart out. Shredded me like no shredding I ever could ever have imagined.
That was long before instant messaging, pictures on phones and Facebook keeping people connected. I missed her Halloween Costume, didn’t see her at Thanksgiving and kept Christmas presents in a large box in the spare room. Until July.
I tried not to push. I knew I had to back off. I respected my son and his ex’s position. There was stuff to work out. But I missed my granddaughter beyond any expectation. Sometimes. . .most times. . .the hardest part of being a parent, or even grandparent. . .is just shutting up. I shut up. Believe it or not. At least that’s how it felt to me at the time.
Then one day the dam burst open and I was told to be at my son’s apartment because he had a surprise for me. He was picking his daughter up and knew how much I missed her. We were to wait for them to get home. My anxiety was palpable. She was so little when I had last seen her. A lot had happened.
Would she even remember me? Would she remember me taking pictures of her while she twisted her face into a dozen different emotions, like the best professional actress ever? Would she remember thanking me ten times. . . “Thank you, Grandma. . .Thank you, Grandma. . .” when I polished all of her fingers and toes for the first time? Would she remember blowing on her fingers and toes for twenty whole minutes to keep the pink pretty?
Would she remember me struggling to brush through her nappy hair trying to contain it in some sort of topknot before her parents saw that I had let her have it loose and free for the day? Would she remember us sitting at the kitchen table, baking cookies, my pasty-fleshed arm next to her beautiful brown, dusted in flour. Would she remember saying, “I’m like you now, Grandma”, as I brushed the flour off of her and told her I wanted her to be like HER, not me, explaining that we are both special in different ways.
I was nervous. Terrified. I knew I might have to go slow in our reunion but everything inside me was fighting that possibility. I wanted to stand in the street like a stalker, waiting for the car to near. I was driving Himself crazy so I went to the balcony for air.
Then the apartment door opened and there she was, slicked back hair ending in the usual fuzz-ball at the top of her head; perfect caramel colored skin; those never-ending dimples that could turn me into a puddle. Looking around a little bit, she soon saw me on the balcony and screamed, “GRANDMA!” She ran towards me, leaping into my arms, patting my cheeks like she always did, turning my face to be sure I was looking right at her.
I don’t remember what happened after that, nor have I even thought of that moment for a lot of years. Yet reading that silly little saying today brought it all back in one fell swoop. . . an unexpected flashback. . .to a perfect moment in time. BING, Heartprint!