Every grandchild has a special place in a grandmother's heart. Each one in a very individual way. This blog was started because I was the full-time "baby keeper" when Little Sister was born. She and I spent hours, days, weeks and months together. That baby wasn't much of a conversationalist in those early days and she mostly napped. Writing gave me something creative to do in those long hours of silence.
I also spent a lot of time as babysitter to Big Sister when she was a preschooler. At that point, we lived close together. For a few years, we had a standing weekly date while Mommy went to choir practice and we developed a routine of things that were "ours."
But my time with Baby Girl has been different. She was born half a continent away. I could fly out to visit and fly home, but the distance limited the face-to-face time. Thankfully they moved closer soon after her first birthday. But they are still in a different state. I can drive down now, but it's too far to see her on a regular basis like I did with the other two. From time to time, I have wondered what her "grandmother memories" will be. I do babysit for her when I can. Sometimes I see her every couple of weeks. Other times it can be a couple of months between visits. There are always photos to be shared, but it's not the same.
When I'm there, she loves for me to read to her. I think I read at least 25 books to her on Sunday and Monday of this week. She is quite attentive when I read, studying me and the pictures in the book. She's quick to correct me if I skip a word or read it wrong. She has quite the personality. Funny. Loving. Imaginative. Extremely observant. (As in she misses NOTHING.) And maybe because I don't see her as often, I see big changes when I do visit. Why does the third child grow up so fast?
What does she know about me? She knows I can mend broken things. She brings me things to sew—pajamas with holes, damaged toys, superhero capes, princess dresses. She knows that I can play music and she is happy to play and sing with me. She knows I like to knit and is often my helper if I've brought knitting along. She know that she gets a little jelly with her peanut butter if I'm making her sandwich. A treat she gets only when Mimi is there. (I promise, Mommy, I couldn't possibly spread it any thinner!)
After reading to her on Monday, I wanted to finish a book that I had brought with me. She handed me another picture book to read to her and I told her I only had a couple of pages left in my book and I'd be happy to read her book when I finished mine. She climbed up in the chair beside me and patiently stood at my shoulder, watching me read my last page. Then she asked, "Mimi, how are you reading when I don't hear you saying the words?" Pretty good question for a 3-1/2 year old child.
I delight in listening to her never-ending questions. Sometimes she teaches me. Just before I left on Tuesday, she announced, "Mimi, I am a granddaughter. Girls are granddaughters." As we ate breakfast, I added, "And you are my buddy, too." "No, Mimi. Boys are buddies. And pals. Girls are daughters and granddaughters. Only boys can be a buddy or a pal."
I got this text message from her mommy the day after I got home. Choosing cup and bowl colors is part of the meal time ritual. Read what she told her mommy. (She chose the green bowl.) Now tell me if that doesn't make a grandmother's heart swell. I'm pretty sure we've never talked about my eyes. But she noticed. I love that she knows "the color of Mimi's eyes."
So far, I am the end of the line for my eye color in this family. But maybe one day, Baby Girl will look at her child or grandchild and tell him or her, "You have green eyes—the color of Mimi's eyes."