My granddaughter spent the night with me this past weekend.I had promised her that after I moved into my new apartment she would be my first overnight guest(probably my only sleep over guest).I had very little money to take her to her favorite McDonalds or to buy her a new toy,so we explored the apartment complex,sat out on my small patio and watered my plants.
I watched her explore my apartment and discovered my Star Trek collectable figures and all of my stuffed animals that she played with when we all lived together,before her parents separated and her dad filed for divorce.We ate ice cream cones and watched movies just like we used to.
We looked at all of the family pictures hanging on my walls.She had forgotten who many of the people were.We discussed who they were and who was living and who were in heaven. I watched her touch things and listened as she told me how we had played with this toy or she remembered seeing that item in my room. Her huge blue eyes missed nothing and we talked about some of the things she remembered about our times together in Alaska and how she missed her friends and the things we used to do together. I told her I missed those things too,but we could do new things together here.
At bedtime she asked for a story,not a story from a book,but one I made up,just as I have with all my children and continued the tradition with her. Half way through story she told me she would finish it.I was surprised and a little disappointed until I realized she was carrying on the tradition and would be telling her future children and grandchildren stories one day.
I know I started this tradition many years ago with my children but only my youngest daughter,my granddaughter's mother,Mali, had carried on the tradition but being Mali, she had put her own spin on the stories by having the princess every bit as strong as the handsome prince.
Managing to sit through the end of the story with my tears un-shed and a lump in my throat,I tucked her into her sleeping bag,made sure she had her bottle of cold water beside her bed,told her our traditional goodnight phrase "Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite" and left the room.
I walked around my apartment and looked at it,not with my adult eyes,but with the eyes of a child,the precious child sleeping in my bedroom. I began to see what I imagined she would see.Items that she remembered were still here,I was still here. Continuity and stability in her little world that had been turned upside down by her parents separation and pending divorce and living part of the time with her momma and part of the time living with her father.
My apartment was an oasis of the past in the midst of so many changes and I was still here.
Later that night I stood over my granddaughter's sleeping form curled in her sleeping bag with her favorite stuffed animal,Floppy Puppy,in her arms and gazed at her peaceful, lovely little face.Yes the tradition would carry on and I would live on as long as she remembers me,her Ga Ga, and some,if not all, of the good times we had together.
I walked around my apartment and looked at it throught the eyes of a child I closed my eyes and when I opened them I looked around me with the eyes of a child
I walked out on my patio and stood there,looking up at the faint stars.How could I forget to look through the eyes of a child and see all of the magic around me.
I have been blessed and will treasure each and every memory of our life together just as I have with all of my children and the other grandchild I have been privileged to know. I regret the grandchildren I will never know and who will never know me,but life does not always go as we wish or hope it does and this beautiful precious child,Azalynn, is enough.
All of my hardships and all of the grief melted away as I realized how truly blessed I am for the wonderful life I have been given.I don't know how many more years I will be given ,but I intend to be thankful for each and every day.
If I forget to look through the eyes of a child and see the magic all around me,I am confident Azalynn will remind me and I will strive to deserve the love she has shining in her eyes for me.