This is my very first grandchild, Maria. Isn’t she beautiful? She’s ten now. Everything I needed to know about being a grandma, I pretty much learned from her. Not in any big “Aha!” moment, but in a lot of little moments until, finally, she owned me.
When she was about two, Maria and her mother came over one day unannounced. I was kneeling on the floor in my room going through some clothes, when I heard her little feet on the stairs. She ran in and hugged me hard around the neck. “Grandma,” she said, “Grandma.” As if I’d just pulled her back from the abyss.
And that is how they tighten the rope around your heart.
Another time, when she was still too little to know better, she introduced me to a woman who happened to be washing her hands in the same public restroom. “This is my grandma,” she told the woman, as if it was something the general public needed to know.
And that is how they pull on the rope and rip out your heart and lock it away in a box somewhere.
Then sometimes (when it was still just the two of us – no Christian, Grace, Cosette or Baby Bret) out of the blue she would say, “You’re my grandma,” and I had to reply, “I am your grandma.”
And that is how they take the box with your heart in it and drop it in the bottom of the Forever Ocean, never to be seen again.