Oh, I know. You’re all thinking, ‘Here she goes again. Ellie is perfect, Ellie is genius, blah, blah, blah.’
Well, the joke’s on you.
This post is not about Ellie.
OK. Well, not directly anyway.
This post is about the fact that I know I’m the luckiest women in the whole wide world because I get to spend every single day with my granddaughter, AND: her parents are so relaxed they even make ME feel calm.
Let me set the stage.
When I was a young mother of three beautiful babies, I was neurotic. Like, really.
The first time my first child threw up, I didn’t think, “Stomach bug.” Nope. I called my sister, sobbing. “She has a brain tumor!!!”
I am not calm. I am not a laid back Momma.
Nevertheless, in spite of me, all three of my kids have grown up to be healthy and happy adults.
Now I have Ellie. My love. My perfect “do over.” My chance to be the one who stays at home and does the nurturing.
God, I love that girl…..
So far, Ellie has given me the chance to relive all of my most precious Momma memories. I have given her a bottle, rocked her to sleep, held her while she napped. I have read her books, changed her diaper, sat her on the potty.
Hell, I have fed her my meatballs and watched her smear the sauce all over her face and hair.
These are the things that I missed so intensely after my nest emptied. These are the sweet memories that had me sobbing into my pillow at 3 AM.
Ellie has let me relive all of those moments. And this time I am acutely aware of the fleeting and profoundly moving nature of those moments.
I am so grateful to her parents for trusting me.
Still. I am a nut.
Yesterday Ellie came back to me after 10 full days away from each other. I went to pick her up and she was sobbing. “Mommy! Mommy!” she was chanting. Her Dad and I were both unsure of how to make her feel better about having her Mommy go back to work after school vacation.
I sang, I acted silly, I fed her oatmeal (OK, my husband made it the way she likes it…) and then we tried to settle into our day.
Somewhere around midday, I looked at Ellie and saw the drooping eyes, the red cheeks, the sad expression. Our eyes met, and she walked over to me. She settled into the space between my knees, and laid her head on my arm.
“Nanni,” she said.
I felt the heat of her skin.
Our Ellie had a fever.
I texted her Mom, gave her some Tylenol, poured her a cup of cool water. Then I sat in my rocking chair and held her against me. She was breathing fast, the way little ones do when they have a fever. Her head was resting against my cheek. Her hot little hand was holding mine.
I hummed some old songs. The songs I used to sing to her Momma and her Uncles. We rocked. She dozed. Every now and then, she turned to me with those shiny fever eyes and said, again, “Nanni.”
My heart melted right down into my toes.
Of course, I gave her Tylenol, and she perked up in 30 minutes. But still. For that brief time, I was right back in those special, beautiful, meaning-of-life moments, when I was the only comfort for a sick baby.
Mea culpa, mea culpa!
I was sorry that she was sick, and I did what I needed to do to make her feel better.
Still. I freakin’ loved that half hour of rocking her hot little body.
And this is why I’m the luckiest woman alive.
When I confessed this horrible truth to my daughter….when I explained to her how much I loved holding her sick child….she said, “So? It’s not like you infected her on purpose.”
She is a goddess. She let’s me be the neurotic Nonni I was born to be. Her husband is right there with her.
Who in the world is luckier than me?