|Nana with great grandson, Bryce|
Shortly after we had announced the advent of her second grandchild, to be born less than a year after his brother, she gave me a full-length, flannel nightgown. I thought it was hilarious. She didn't. Oops. It wasn't the only misstep we have encountered in the last 38 years. She told me once, with emotion etched on her face, how hurt she was that I didn't bring the boys over trick-or-treating one year. She had a special gift for them, which she threw out a month or so later, still hurting from the slight. As it happened, it was the first year I had let them go out on Halloween by themselves. It wasn't my fault, but I have always regretted that I didn't cradle her pain with more compassion. It wasn't just a matter-of-fact misunderstanding - it was an aching heart that needed to be held.
Having been on both sides of the balance, I have newly realized appreciation for Nana. She is approaching the end of her life. Her words are painfully few, locked within and out of her reach. Many times, I doubt she knows who I am. Recently, though, I was blessed to have time alone with her when she seemed to fully recognize me. There were things I got to say - to thank her for never interfering with my marriage, to thank her for the lessons I learned from her, to apologize for a certain Halloween so many years earlier. Her eyes were locked onto mine as her hand reached from under the covers to take mine. "We are such different people," I said, "but it's ok, because we love the same people." I wiped a tear from her cheek as our hearts held each other.
Thank you, Nana, for being my other mother. With love for the person you are, and the one you helped me become...