I've told my story before. How until age three, I lived with my grandparents and aunt R. until my parents finished college and got married. How I'd see them on weekends when they could afford time and bus fare for 120-mile trip home to see their daughter. I know given the chance to do things over, my Mama would make the same decision today because it was best for her, best for me, best for us. How one day in June of 1983, I packed up my life and moved away into our first home as a new family.
I've been away from the lil' dude for five days. I miss her like crazy. I miss her laugh and screams, hugs, and snot. I miss her telling me what to do impolitely, her begging to be held, the way she pushes her bangs out of her face. There is so much I miss in just five days. I can't wait to run up the steps to see her tomorrow evening, where, if history repeats itself, she'll be more excited to see the Beagle than her parents. It's OK.
Imagine if what I feel in five days was spread out over the three years my Mom was away from me. Imagine waking up every morning and recounting the days until she could see me again. Imagine if I cried every Sunday night as she boarded the bus back to campus. I imagine that all the time. She made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of love and responsibility. I don't know how to pay her back for that. So I just pay it forward with my own family, hoping I'm doing things as a wife and mother that make my Mama proud of me, her, and us.
My Mama and me; 1983
So weeks like this when Camp Grandma is underway, I can't help but think what my Mom puts into the long days with her granddaughter. How it's maybe like a new chance at what she missed with her daughter. How taking the lil' dude to the beach in her hometown, potty training her, braiding her hair, rubbing her back, and teaching her the names of her flowers must feel all these years later. It must be the sweetest redemption there ever was. I hope for her, it is. I hope she knows how right this world was made when the lil' dude was born because there is no other way to explain it. She is a gift and the final chapter in our family's story.
What a happy ending.