A Brief Interlude That Recaptures the Past
When I picked her up from school on Tuesday, my six-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter told me she didn’t feel good. After we arrived home, I touched her forehead. It was warm. “I think you have a fever,” I told her. I offered her a snack and a glass of water, then sat down next to her. She drank a few sips of water, then leaned in against me.
This granddaughter is fiercely independent and tends to avoid kisses and cuddles. Her boundaries are very important to her. One day she told me, “I don’t like it so much when you kiss me. But you can still hug me once in a while.” One of our jokes involves my threatening to give her a big smoochy kiss.
But yesterday, her boundaries dissolved. I moved a bit to my left and told her she could lie down in my lap if she wanted. She did. And for the next half hour, she melted into me as I stroked her hair and hummed to her, remembering all the times I had held her before she learned to walk and crave independence.
The half hour swelled to transcend real, physical time. And when she got up to go see what her sister was doing, I realized that those 30 minutes contained within in them all of our relationship–all the past moments when I had held her, and all the future moments–no matter how far apart–when I will embrace her again.