Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHILDHOOD (03/09/17)
TITLE: That's what grandmothers do
By Francie Snell
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Is this real? I thought my son couldn’t have children. Is she really his… is she really mine? Struggling with disbelief, I had to sit down to study the picture as reality sunk in. I'm going to have a grandchild? I prayed … because that’s what grandmothers do.
My son and I hadn't spoken for over 5 years for reasons still unclear to me. Through numerous cards and letters, I sent him, he never responded, except for one time when he called and left a brief message on our machine on Mother’s Day years before.
Even though my son chose not to keep in touch, my ex-husband was kind enough to keep me informed.
“Good Morning, you should be a grandma on Tuesday at 5pm” the text read. It failed to include an invitation to the event. Even so, on June 16th at 8:53 PM, I received another text from my ex, and another picture: this time of a red faced, 6 lb. 3 oz. baby bundled in a blanket. “They kept her at the hospital because she wasn’t eating. Another week or so before she comes home. Elliana is her name.“ My heart sank. I wasn’t there, or the one holding my newborn granddaughter.
If I had held her, I would have encouraged her softly. "Come on Ellie, you've GOT to eat.” I would have kissed her soft little cheek. Then I would’ve prayed over her … because that’s what grandmothers do.
After an entire month, I received another picture of her, finally home from the hospital. I sent a care package, a gift certificate, and a congratulations card to my son with all the encouragement I could muster.
Now a proud grandfather, my ex continues sending me pictures of little Ellie as she grows, so delightfully precious. I dare to imagine times when I will be blessed with wonderful moments with her. Someday, perhaps, she’ll sit with me as I read her a story. Then we can make chocolate chip cookies, or anything sweet we shouldn’t eat. I hope she likes popcorn too. And with a wide selection of color crayons strewn all over the kitchen table, she can fill pages of coloring books and plaster her masterpieces all over our refrigerator.
When our indoor pursuits reach a lull, we can go outside to amble around the garden, or take a stroll around the nearby pond and feed the ducks, or we can visit the children’s playground where I’ll push her on a swing as she squeals with delight. “Higher gamma, higher.”
I think she’ll call me gamma, or nanny, or whatever she wants … I don’t care, just as long as we’re together. But I don’t know… I wonder and I pray … because that’s what grandmother’s do.
Maybe she’ll be a tomboy like me or a delicate princess who loves to play with dolls? Will she love animals, and must be constantly warned not to throw her arms around any stray that happens along? Or will she ever cuddle a puppy and giggle as it licks her face with its puppy breath? Maybe she’ll like horses and want to go horseback riding, and have me braid her hair into pony tails like I had when I was younger.
Perhaps I can take her to the ocean sometime while I’m still physically able, to dance on the beach and run in the sand as we’re chased by the incoming waves. Hopefully, my aging mind will remember to get some plastic buckets and shovels for the sand castles we’ll build.
And in those precious moments, will she share with me her every little thought and secret as I patiently listen? I hope so.
I’ve seen her twice now since she was born two years ago. We meet in a restaurant for lunch an hour’s drive away from our house: my husband, my ex, my Ellie, and me. She barely knows me, and I wish I could see her more often. Even so, I trust God, and so I’ll hope and I’ll pray and I’ll dare to dream… because that’s what grandmothers do.
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