I have one grand who lives pretty far away and so I don’t get to see her as often as I like. But when I do, there’s almost always something special that goes down.
She and I recently kept company and I had some things to give her when it was time for her long car ride home. I explained that her presents were in Papa’s car and, as we were walking to it, I asked if she had any memory of him at all. I couldn’t imagine that she could; she was so young when he died. She stopped a second and then said, “I think he thought my little pony unicorn was a horse!”
Now that might have been the last thing I expected her to say and I have no idea in the world if Charles ever played that game, but it sure made me laugh. At the same time, a part of me had a bit of a gut grab because I thought there’s no way she could actually remember that and it would be such a precious memory if she could. But then she looked up at me and said, “But you know, I’m not sure. Sometimes I think that maybe it’s my dreams that I think are memories.” She was clearly okay either way.
Our family and friends made the decision almost from the beginning that we would never NOT talk about Papa. Over the years, the painful memories have gradually become smiley ones, for everybody. But she was the one most deprived of time with him, and I’ve always hated that. Now it seems that somehow those conversations have also transformed the memories of a baby. This sweet child is ten years old now and in that moment she handed a gift to me far greater than anything I could ever have in the car for her.