Have you ever wanted something so badly that when you got it, disbelief took over? Recently, I had such an experience. Sadly, it began with a death.
When my ex-daughter-in-law called just before Christmas, her words came fast but disconnected. Her sadness transcended the distance. I immediately knew something was wrong. She had lost her father. Her hero. His death, she said, forced her to realize the fragility of life, the pettiness of our decisions in the context of life. She wanted to reconnect.
An eternity had passed since we had last communicated. My two oldest grandchildren, her children, both were in single digits then. I think. I don’t remember.
The conversation filled me with incredible sadness and gratefulness at the same time. I struggled with how to reconnect with her and the children.
Baby steps. Yeah. Baby steps. “Don’t rush it; don’t be too eager,” I thought.
She and I became friends on Facebook, and exchanged text messages.
One phone call with the kids. Another phone call. Pictures and videos of the kids being shared.
Then, a plan. I would visit them in Florida. When the plan fell through, I pretended I was OK. I was devastated.
So was my mother, who called my ex-daughter-in-law and lashed out like a mother bear protecting her cub. I was doubly devastated. What if that call had jeopardized my chances of seeing my grandchildren?
I didn’t talk to my mother for two weeks. How could I say to her how angry I was (in a calm voice) without being disrespectful? We had never gone that long without talking. Once the words came to me, Mother and I talked, and I thanked her for her concern but respectfully insisted that she let me fight my own battles. Meanwhile, new plans for a Florida visit took shape. When I saw them, nothing else mattered.
When I think about having seen them, I’m taken back to the feeling of having my first grandchild, discovering the bond between a grandparent and grandchild. The time apart had not diminished the bond.
We did nothing special. We took a lunchtime cruise, their first. We rode horses, our third time together. We saw “MIB3” in 3-D and Imax, and have the glasses to prove it. We had breakfast and dinner. We bonded.
It’s been a month. I’m still floating. Please don’t pinch me. I know that the pinch indicates you’re awake, and what’s happening is really happening. In this case, I’m still in disbelief that I saw them, that we hugged and had fun together. I want this dream, this feeling to continue.
So, don’t pinch me. If you pinch me, I might wake up.