I am dreaming of salty air and sand, a playful surf, purple sunsets. A hesitant poke in the eye and my six year old granddaughter stands beside me. She looks nothing like the daring doll who built and destroyed rock piles out back all day or the little girl who made up nonsense rules in game after game of Upwords.
Now, tears smudge her cheeks. Her hive of hair buzzes in all directions. She looks as frayed as Jake, the teddy bear she clings to with one hand. Jake was once her father’s go-to boy (and for a short time, his go-to girl, Jessica) and wears the love – one button eye, most of his mouth missing, threadbare where my son used to rub his thumb.
In her other hand is the book she brought to read to me. All day she had reasons why we couldn’t quietly sit and share the story. Now, at 2 am her breath hitches as she gestures the book toward sleepy me.
These are the moments grandmothers live for. Tomorrow does not matter – work or meetings or schedules mean nothing next to this little girl who looks as if her life depends upon me lifting the covers and inviting her in.
She climbs up beside me and for the first time all day, wants me (really wants me) to hold her, to reassure her how much she is loved. Her head finds the giving place on my chest. This same spot where a little boy once laid his head and like that, my granddaughter melts into the embrace of my body. Her back warms my belly and I inhale her sweet sleep-scent.
Closing my eyes, I desperately want to burn this perfect image in – knowing when I am old, unsure of so many things … this is one of the moments I will want to conjure, to help me remember who I am.