“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!” ~ Dr Seuss | One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
It's such an odd mix of ease and difficulty as I write to you.
One one hand it's simple. A piece of cake really. There's just so much to say. You're a fountain of exuberance, like a helium balloon that floats through life with energy, zest, and joy. (ps: Your mom loved them too at your age .. purple and shiny were always her request)
The good cheer you've brought to our lives is more than worthy of documenting. But on the other hand, I don't feel a need to document it quite as much now because two things have happened. Sadly I don't get to be with you in your everydays anymore, and your free and easy spirit keeps getting clearer and clearer. I never have to search for it. Whenever I'm with you ..
there's good all around
True confessions? When you were a little guy, it was harder for me. I'm a far better mother/grandmother with kids that are a bit older, and sometimes I had to squint my eyes so tightly that it was hard to see anything in front of myself at all. (Does the famous “It's not you, it's me” apply here? Yes. Perfectly)
As I felt off-kilter, sometimes I needed to steady myself on the beauty. Needed to fix my eyes on the good. So I wrote. And I wrote and I wrote, and it felt like I was writing for you Sweetie, but really?
I was writing for me
But now it's different. I don't feel like I need to write for myself. At least not in the same way. When we're together, I don't need the daily (almost minutely) reminders to enjoy the small moments, because there are so many of them. Writing them all down would feel a bit redundant.
When we're together I really just want to sit down and build another Lego tower together. You know? I want to settle into the minutes we do have. Getting to know your little brother Ezra, meeting your friends at school, chatting with your mom, afternoon adventures to the ice cream parlor
Could it be a trap, Eli? Is this what it means to take for granted these moments together? The idea that they're enough? That they supersede all need for documentation? Am I kidding myself that I won't need to write it down to remember the beauty of these days?
Maybe. Maybe not
Do you know that when we were way up high on the Ferris wheel, you helped me in the best of ways?
“Grandma? How ‘ya ‘doin?”
“I'm not sure Sweetie. I mean, I'm ok, but I'm a little afraid of heights”
“I'm not entirely sure; I'll practice my yoga breathing and be ok. Can you tell me a story to distract me?”
“So I can think about something else”
“Because I have to do that sometimes. It can be a bad habit, or also a really big blessing”
“I think it's a really big bressing. Some days I want to forget things too”
“Yeah? Me too”
And I think you cracked the code, sweet Eli. On my long drive home, I couldn't help but think that maybe it's in the forgetting that we learn and grow and improvise. And sometimes it's in the forgetting that we can also remember
xoxo .. Grandma
Something you might not know about me, Eli?
I write a few things in my gratitude journal every night and sometimes share parts of it here. My visit to see your family was part of a two-week long vacation of sorts. One day when you're old enough to read this, I'd love to share some of the other pretty cool parts with you too
strawberry ice cream with sprinkles .. always with sprinkles
sidewalk chalk on the soles of your shoes
vienna sausage fingers on babies
two pm margaritas with a side of mac and cheese
passing the hours with some really great audio books
that your first instinct is almost always correct
the first kiss of fall
the anticipation of hugging your daughter in one more day
‘Hound Dog' by Elvis
lazy daydreaming under big Montana skies
being kind to yourself and letting your soul exhale in relief
making the effort
figuring out the hotel shower
a jillion kids' shoes by the front door
someone to remind us that we're not alone
coloring books and beginner crayon sets
the beauty of driving through Wyoming
calling your husband to tell him he was right, it truly is other-worldly
hoping cucumber water will balance out one too many McDonald's sundaes (yes, please, with nuts, super light on the hot fudge .. this can not become a habit)
kids that tell you “I didn't realize it then. But, you know Mom, you did good”
breakfast omelets at a small town diner
mountains in the distance
the feeling that you're in a totally different world
someone who's known you through all of your (many) lives .. and loves you anyway
old photos of you and your brother that she keeps in a frame. truly, were we ever that young?
a new (to you) Whole Foods to explore
the first kiss of fall
two little boys who still think being with their parents is the best thing in life
chalky little fingers all the colors of the rainbow
pumpkins heaped at a roadside stand
calling your mother to thank her for all the years she let you have the long John Silver crumblies
someone who tells you you're beautiful
g lone gas station when your car is on E
getting lost + then found on Montana’s backcountry highways
confessing your latest mishap over a stiff drink (and maybe a few tears)
the words “I love you”