“Mommy, Mommy, I’m going to call Opa. Okay?” And she dials, her little fingers making up numbers as she goes. “Hello? Opa? Hi! I love you, are you feeling better? I played with my Mollie and Marlee today. What are you doing?”
That was Monday.
“Mommy! Look, it’s Opa’s ducky! Can we get Opa a bunny to take care of his ducky? We can send it to him.”
“Oh Maddie, Opa has all the duckies and bunnies he will ever need.”
“But MOMMY, we have to get a bunny for Opa’s ducky! PUUUUHHHHLEEEEAAASE? He reeeeeaaaaalllly needs it! I have money from Grandma..look!!!” And she pulls from the depths of her little pockets three crumpled up one dollar bills. And so we leave with a bunny for Opa’s ducky.
That was Wednesday.
“Hey Bri, what are we doing this weekend?”
“We don’t have anything planned…for once.”
“Are you sure? I keep thinking we have something going on this weekend.”
That was Friday.
Saturday morning I turn the calendar to a new month, proud of myself for only being one day behind. I am admiring the collage of Maddie that smiles at me from the page as I turn it. A picture catches my eye. Maddie and Opa at her birthday party. She’s giving him a kiss. She’s hanging on to his cane with him as he’s bent over to reach her smooshy lips. It’s one of those moments that we captured her unaware on a day when taking pictures was not on her agenda. As I stop and that old familiar tightening of my heart takes hold, I come to a sudden realization. Wednesday had been Opa’s birthday. Today we would be together at my mom’s. Singing. Laughing. Watching the great grandaughters fight over who would be “helping” Opa open his presents. Talking at volumes above the raucous so that Opa could hear everyone. Watching the twinkle in his eye, as he asked all 8 girls to help blow out his candles, because you know, there were sooooooo many.
But Opa was in heaven. It was banished from my mind, as things that take hold of your heart and squeeze it to the breaking point tend to be. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been. But Maddie. She talked to Opa. She took care of Opa’s ducky. She got him a friend to keep him company. She kept Opa with her and she remembered his birthday.
She remembers him.
Thank you Opa.