It's early Sunday morning; I watch the clock waiting for it to hit 9:00 a.m, because Mom will be awake at 8:00 a.m. (her one hour earlier time zone). I feel momentary gratitude that all my life I could call my parents early and always knew they would be awake and happy to hear my voice.
"Hi Grandma," she answers the phone.
"Hello Great-Grandma," I respond.
How strange. Could we have ever imagined this is how we would greet one another on a spring Sunday morning. But this is the way it is now: Grandma and Great Grandma.
"Well how are you?" she asks. She knows I'm finally home after days of being the Grandma-nanny.
"It's so good to be home. In my house. In my own bed. I'm so grateful to have my life back."
In essence that is what we do, and what we have now: our own lives. I picture Great Grandma alone in her quiet house. Maybe she has the screen door open and the waterfall running in the backyard. I can see the light streaming through her abundant dining room windows. Perhaps she is curled up in a soft chair with a bowl of fruit in her hands. Or maybe she's already sitting at the quilt frames set out with not a soul to be bothered by the clunky intrusion.
Ahhh...my own life flashes before me. I slept in. Woke up to peace and Tony sleeping soundly at my side. The only noise was the happy bird chirps. I have quite a bit of leisure time before we head for church. I only have to make a birthday cake for the celebration later this afternoon. I pick up the book I've been trying to finish over the last month, crawl back into cushy warmth and cry over the last ten pages. That I could lay in bed and read on a Sunday morning I do not take for granted!
My mind comes back to Mom on the phone and I tell her, "I needed to be there, but I thought of all those times when you came to help when I'd had a baby, and after a few days, you were ready to get out of there."
Mom laughs cause she knows it's true. "Well, you have your own family, home, your way of doing things, and a few days was enough."
Her experience rings true, "It's a good thing I was dependent on a flight time and didn't drive, because I probably would have left sooner."
Mom is still laughing; I'm free to continue. "You used to get the last load of laundry done and then you were packed up and gone."
In that first moment as I watched her drive away, I was bombarded with bewilderment and fear. How could she leave me alone with all these children?
But it always turned out fine, because that is a mother's job--always. We give life, and we watch that life develop, stumble, grow, walk, and one day we drop off that dependent little person for her first two hours of pre-school, or the first time at day care, at kindergarten, at summer camp, at junior high and if we are doubly blessed, we drive her to her college dorm and help her move in. The time and distances become longer until one day she's standing at the door with her own circle and cycle of life--her children.
And once again, it's time to leave.