Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"We call Grandma?"

"Did she leave?" Briar asked, her blue eyes shining with knowing. Grandma had carefully explained that she would be leaving, from the sun's first move toward the horizon, she began to tenderly plant the seeds.

"Grandma is going to be going on a plane, but we'll talk on the phone."

Her voice was light, her face cheery as she painted a picture of phone calls and memories. The girls nodded at the suggestion of practicing a phone call.

"Hello, Briar? Avery? It's Grandma."

"Hi Grandma."

"Hi Gramma."

The role playing only held their attention for so long, requiring Grandma to revisit the theme every so often to ensure that when she left in the pre-dawn hours, the empty bed the girls would wake up to wouldn't leave them distraught. Between apple slices and bedtime stories she would quietly and gently remind them, "So, tomorrow Grandma's going on a plane to her house."

"With Papa?" Avery asked.


"And Abbie?"


"And Tico and Maddie at your house?"

Smiling and teary, "Yes, that's right."

Avery smiled, Briar nodded. They were satisfied trusting the warmth of Grandma's voice, but my ears heard a different voice. I heard the longing behind the words, the fervent wishing that tomorrow wouldn't come, that she wouldn't find herself sitting on a plane somewhere over the northeast as her granddaughters woke to find her gone.

"She left? Gone?" They asked.

"Yes," I answered, the sting in my eyes and lump in my throat made my stomach lurch. Understanding that the unyielding pain of parenting comes back as a grandparent, twofold, aching for child and grandchild. I looked at my girls and imagined myself at that age, the magic of Grandma and Grandpa, the confusion of time and distance. The miles between us are not something I can easily remedy, but standing in the empty room, a stack of folded quilts in the corner and a cluster of discarded toys beside the sofa, I saw the concrete promise of the visit.

Grandma came to visit, spending each moment from the girls first bed-headed squeals, to the end of the day grimy-from-playing-hard little hands scrambling for one last snack and a goodnight kiss, showering the girls with attention. It was magically mundane with Grandma handling naps and baths, playtime and bed time.

She came for Finley's arrival and with her she delivered memories that will last a lifetime for our entire family. We miss you Grandma.

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Janet said...

How wonderful that she was able to come and share these first few days with you all. My mom came to help for a few days after my third, my little E., and it was heaven.

Heather said...

I'm loving the photo of you, Finley and your mom.

Mrs. Schmitty said...

Beautiful pictures...I love the one on the bridge!

Damselfly said...

Whoa, are grandmothers supposed to be so young?

Kat said...

Amanda, you write so beautifully about the everyday. I can't tell you how much I love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing this. I'm kind of aching for your girls and you and your mom. There's nobody like a grandma, or a mother.

Rachel said...

The storytelling is brilliant and the beautiful, yet poignant photos make it even more special and touching.
Absolutely perfect.

Amy Y said...

She doesn't look old enough to be a grandma!

I had a tough time with my mom leaving a week after T was born... Grandmas are just magic and even more so when there are new babies and experienced toddlers together.

I'm glad you had that time with her and I hope the girls get to see her again soon!

Cheryl said...

Gorgeous gramma. :) Makes me miss my mom. I'm so lucky she only lives an hour away. I love that last picture with the pigtails and the precious soft nape of the neck. So tender.

Crystal said...

What wonderful pictures, I bet your mom prints them out as soon as she is home. She is so lucky she got to be there for the birth and to meet Finley.
I have been very emotional when my mom left after the past births.

Lisa said...

What a special time....it looks like your mother is as lovely as you!

jenk said...

Grandmas are the best. It is so sad watching them leave.

Jenty said...

What a special post! Makes me really appreciate my mom living so close... and wonder how I'm going to cope with our planned move overseas next year.

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Lovely. She totally reminds me of my mother.
I have that exact same picture (!) of my mom on a bench holding newborn Baby with the other 2 boyz next to her.

Christy said...

I love Grandmas...I can't imagine what I would do with out my mom in my life. Your girls will treasure those pics and memories always.

Robin said...

What a wonderful visit, thanks for sharing it with us. The photos are great, such a beautiful family in such a perfect setting.

the new girl said...

I never got to have any of those pictures, like the awesome ones in this post.

It makes me at once sad, envious and incredibly moved. The picture of you with your mom and brand new daughter, all together, nearly did me in.

Such beautiful pictures to hold such special memories.

carrie said...

Oooooh, Grandma's are the best.

Kimberly said...

That brings tears to my eyes. My mom is a four-hour drive away, so not awful, but not the same as having her within an hour of us. We see her every 4-8 weeks and goodbyes are always very painful for her, us and the girls. Your words about the bittersweet pain of parenting continuing into grandparenthood is so true.

Lovely post, as always.

andi said...

This made me all teary. Grandmas have such special relationships with their grandkids.

Jen said...

Oh, this totally destroyed me.

Colleen said...

We will be going through the exact same thing in just a short time. My parents will be coming from Florida for Zoe's birthday (on 6/30) and staying for the most of July so they will be here for the new baby to arrive. I can only imagine how heartbreaking it will be when it's time for them to go back home.