My darling Lilli…when you get to be as old as your Mimmie, you might start to realize there are things you wish you’d said more intentionally to your own kids, as they were growing up, or, at the very least, you’ll wish you had said them better. I heard once that grandchildren can be a kind of “do-over.” I don’t agree with that entirely, for you are not mine to raise, day in and day out. However, because I am removed from the constancy of your daily care, I think those things that need saying can rise more easily, and with greater clarity, to the top of my heart. It’s my hope that this letter (and the ones to follow in years to come) will help make your life’s road a little easier to travel.
Good morning, sweetheart.
Today’s not a special day in the history of you and me. It’s not a birthday, or Christmas, or any other milestone. But I’m writing because, yesterday, something happened that’s never happened before.
You woke up (according to your Mommy) sad, and crying for me. I’m betting that you had a dream in which I played a starring role, but regardless, you missed your Mimmie more than usual. So Mommy got you settled with her phone and you FaceTimed me. Lately, our FaceTime conversations have been filled with lots of giggles, and you moving around so much that the camera can’t keep you in focus. You usually show me a couple of your toys and tell me a thing or two you did that day, then you are off! But not yesterday.
Yesterday, you sat very still. You seemed to study my face, and after some conversation about missing me, you asked me to go into MY playroom and show you MY toys. Then you started having me play with them. You wanted to play with the doctor kit and we talked about what you did with each of the tools. After that, though, you remembered the horses and really came alive.
“Get all the horses out, Mimmie! And the barn! Play wiff ’em! Make ’em go NEIGH!”
So I did.
We talked about which were our favorites and gave them names. Whether they should be in the barn, or not, and if they were able to climb the ladder into the hay loft. It turns out that our horses were magical and could not only climb up the ladder, but FLY out of the loft.
Suddenly, though, you turned very serious. With the phone propped in front of you, you put your little head down on your arm and all I could see were your eyes. They started to well up, and you said…
“Come get me, Mimmie. I miss you. I come to your house and play WIFF you. Peese come get me, Mimmie.”
I died a thousand deaths in that moment, so torn was my heart. Because I couldn’t come get you; not right then. It’s not an easy fix when there’s over a thousand miles between us, but you don’t really understand that. Not yet.
Fighting falling completely apart, I explained that I didn’t have a ticket for the airplane and I couldn’t come right away. Unsure I could get you here before, and not wanting to make promises I couldn’t keep, I reminded you about Christmas and how you would be here for presents and our beautiful tree. And you perked up some, but the sadness was still there.
I tell you all this, making record of this day, because it’s such a reminder of life. We can’t always have what we want, my darling. We can desire something so deeply, hoping for it and dreaming of it, and yet, it still just can’t happen in the timing we want, or even at all. It’s one of life’s hard truths, but it’s an important one to embrace, because, if you don’t, you will never be content with what you do have.
It will be a very joyous day if one of my fondest wishes ever comes true, bringing you and your family close to Mimmie & Papa. I dream of a day when you, and your brother and sister, can come here whenever you want, and have sleepovers, and swim, and eat popsicles on the swing. And even though I can’t have that right now, I’m going to be thankful for what I do have: the ability to see your sweet face whenever I want, and still play together even if we can’t be together while we’re doing it.
But mostly, I’m thankful for the relationship we share, for a curly-headed, blue eyed wonder who loves her Mimmie so deeply and so well, and a Mimmie who loves her wonder as big as the sky.
“Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!…You have no idea how good your love makes me feel.” Philemon 1:4 MSG
“Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 NLT