A Sweet Memory…

Nana

My sweet Nana (2009)

The last few days have been nuts. Munchkin is acting out with all the changes we’ve experienced.  She’s not listening as well as she is capable.  She is doing things to test our patience.  She’s generally hyper.  She is also super clingy with me.  But, we’ve seen this before.  She did the same kind of thing in the weeks we settled in to take care of my father last year.  She acted out, was clingy and regressed terribly with her potty training.  I was doing pee laundry all the time and was about to lose my mind with it.  But, I knew then just like I know now, Munchkin is just adjusting in her own way and we also need to respect her process.  I can’t expect her to act perfect if I am 32 years older than her and wanting to act out too!  But, it is really hard to keep that perspective some days–like today.

Today was nuts.  It was a crazy day at work (yes, professors work during the summer contrary to popular belief).  It was a crazy night at home topped off by Munchkin taking me and J on, as she called it, “the longest walk EVER.”  And I believe it.  My legs are freaking killing me.  She was hyper getting ready for bed and Mom said, “J told me when I moved in he could not guarantee peace and quiet and he was right.”  But, she laughed and that was good to see.

Before bed each night I read to Munchkin.  It is our special time.  Tonight she asked if we could do story time in Nana’s room.  I told her to ask Nana and she, of course, agreed.  As I was getting ready to come in the room I was stopped in my tracks as Munchkin poured over Mom’s jewelry box with her.  She was pulling out every piece, oohing and ahhing over the shiny, sparkly jewels.  It reminded me distinctly of another child who LOVED playing in her Nana’s jewelry box.  It reminded me of my own sweet days with my loving Nana.

Growing up I could not have asked for a sweeter, kinder, more patient grandmother.  She was my everything.  We would pull in the driveway and my sister and I would race up the walk way to see who could get there to hug Nana first.  We begged to have sleepovers where our Papa would make us popcorn and we would watch the Carol Burnett show with them.  They took us camping every summer in their RV.  I have so many memories to cherish.

But, Nana and I spent countless hours in her jewelry box.  She would take it down and let me open each drawer and play to my heart’s content.  I tease J it is why I have such a love for sparkly gifts.  My favorite pieces to play with were her big sparkly clip on earrings and the beautiful brooches that went with them.  I’d put them on and prance around like I was the Queen of England.  She never tired of watching me play.

For a short time after my Papa passed, Nana lived with Mom, me and my younger sister.  It was beyond wonderful.  She brought so much to our little family.  She was there for special moments like prom but my favorite moments were breakfasts on Saturday mornings and how, if I asked, she was blow dry my hair–something she had been doing since I was a little girl.  She was the missing piece to our family.  And, even though circumstances worked out that she only lived with us a little while before moving elsewhere, I am so grateful for the time she did live with us.

In her last years my Nana had Alzheimer Disease.  I watched her once sharp memory fade, but she was still the sweetest and kindest woman I’ve ever known.  On my last visit to see her before she passed away she didn’t know me and that was perfectly okay because she let this complete stranger still love on her and hug her.  But, as I was leaving on my final night I was sitting next to her bed telling her how much I Ioved her and she looked dead into my eyes and said my name.  She knew exactly who I was in that moment.  I had about 5 good minutes with her and they are some of the most precious minutes of my life.

Nana has been gone 4.5 years now.  She passed away just 2 months before Munchkin was born.  But, even before Mom moved in with us, I saw so much of the kind of relationship I had with my own Nana between Mom and Munchkin.  Walking in and seeing Abigail doing the same exact thing with her Nana brought such joy to my heart.  I thought it was going to burst.  I hopped onto the bed and told stories of when I used to do the same with my own Nana.  I hope one day Munchkin will look back on these simple moments and her heart will also swell with love and memories.

So, even with some of the bumps in the road we had over the last few days (which is what I was writing in my journal about extensively so I didn’t lose my mind) this moment tonight makes everything else seem insignificant.  I miss my sweet Nana all the time, but my baby girl has the chance to have just as special of a relationship with her own Nana.  How fortunate are we?