"Oh...I never got to know you kids," she said, her eyes sad, standing what seemed like several feet below me with her hands on my cheeks. I can still feel them, those silky fragile hands, aged beyond strength and form.
They were crooked and frail yet so incredibly tender.
I didn't want her to pull them away, but at the same time all I could think was, "Why not? Why didn't you get to know me?"
I don't really know why the feeling of Norma's hands lingers with me. But it has- for the last 5 days since Aunt Freddee's funeral.
I hardly knew my dad's mother, and my maternal grandmother passed away years before I was born. But my heart still mourns and yearns for a grandmother's touch. I almost can't learn enough about who they were, especially because I know both of them would've been more than just a card at Christmas and birthdays. They would've been, oh I don't know, more.......significant than that.
Friday's events have lingered with Jeremiah as well, prompting a lot of conversations about where Freddee is now and whether or not there's a map to heaven.
"I wanna go there!" he said to me but then the conversation led down a rabbit trail that eventually ended with him quoting something or other from the movie, Rio. His questions about God and heaven are forming, and I feel a tad overwhelmed and yet excited about where Jeremiah's heart is. I know that I'll be answering questions about sin one minute and then giggling together the next about how funny it was when that one bird said, "I'm gonna pop this cage open like a sogey can!" Or so goes Jeremiah's recitation...
What's coming together for me right now is how unexpected things of significance can come about. Yesterday I purchased a cheap plaster paint-it-yourself-rocket for Jeremiah since the days have been rainy and my patience short. :) I fully intended for that to be something that would occupy his time so I could complete one task uninterrupted. But I could absolutely not say no when he looked at me and said, "You can paint this WITH me........if you WANT to."
Forget showering immediately after an hour's worth of Zumba. I sat on the kitchen floor, sweaty and sore and not feeling remotely crafty, and grabbed a paint brush.
"I real like doing this with you, Mom."
"I like doing this with you, too, kiddo."
We were done in less than 10 minutes as the majority of the rocket was painted black, J's favorite color. It was a few minutes out of my day, an interruption in my routine, but incredibly significant time spent in the life of an almost four-year-old.
It makes me wonder how many of those kinds of moments have passed me by, when something could have been but wasn't.
For years I wanted someone to step in and be the grandmother I never had- to take a moment with me and make it significant, but really how great of an expectation is that? Yikes. Too great for most. Yet I wonder, perhaps there were far too many days of interrupted routines and the 'should've-called-so-and-so-like-I-thought-about-doing' happen and those potential moments of significance were gone forever. Who knows if someone wanted to step in yet were sidetracked, like happens to every single one of us, like I almost was today.
I just don't want to see that look in my own eyes when it comes to opportunities to be significant in someone's life. Because when it comes down to it, there are some people there's no replacement for.