Dear friends & relatives,
When last I talked to you, it was April of 2017. I took a reprieve to help my cousin with her broken hip–a “short” break to aid her in her move to her new home with another cousin, “Saint” Genevieve. That short hiatus magically but mercilessly morphed into a year’s absence. Where did it go? ….To frozen Chicago to visit my daughter and grandchildren….then on to New York City to visit my other daughter and her two children…..then to the warmth of the Lake of the Ozarks where my Chicago Clan visits one week every summer…..finally to the even steamier fall in Thailand to visit son Kevin who is teaching English as a second language for Webster University.
In between travels, I have had many trips to the doctor for very fun things like x-rays for my two aching shoulders–to find that I need replacement parts in both of them. While he was checking my strength by having me push against his arms with the outside of my hands (a test I passed with flying colors), I asked him if my hands, which were “falling asleep,” were in this somnolent state due to my rotting shoulder joints. “No, but you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.” Good, I thought, I was worried they were catching cat naps because they were bored. “I’ll send you for a nerve test.”
Well, no surprise the nerve test revealed “severe carpal tunnel syndrome” in both hands. I had three choices last August–which I explained to my Internist as I was sitting with my gown on having my blood pressure taken: 1) have shoulder replacement surgery (and carpal tunnel on my wrist at the same time); 2) babysit my two-year old granddaughter and seven-month old grandson in New York City; or 3) be in a Play.
“Well,” she almost shouted, “That’s an easy decision: Be in the play! How often do you get to do this? This is for YOU.”
My very sweet friend who cast me in “Uncle Vanya” (who I am sure will NEVER cast me again) may be reading this. I thank her profusely for thinking me “just right for the part.” Indeed, when she called to say I was perfect for her play, I was naive and conceited enough to think I was being considered for Vanya’s young and beautiful wife! How shocked I was when she asked me to read for his MOTHER! But when I did, I found I could have written the lines–so similar were they to heated discussions I have had with my own sons.
I was thrilled when she called to say she wanted me–I hadn’t felt “wanted” in a long time. I did not realize then that the dates of the play were the exact dates I had promised my daughter I would stay with her children in New York. Sadly, I turned the part down.
A promise to my daughter was a promise–and time spent with my granddaughter “Queen D” and grandson Beau proved to be as soul-fulfilling as a play–albeit much more exhausting! I even convinced my husband to join me–and “Papa” as she calls him, is her favorite. She nestled on Papa’s lap during a rainy Sunday afternoon, and watched one Disney feature after another, wriggling with delight when Cinderella’s castle swirled with stars and fireworks, shrieking “I’m gonna go there for my Birthday!”
And go for her birthday she did. On a long holiday weekend, my daughter and son-in-law invited us to spend “Queen D’s” third birthday at Disney World. Although “Papa” was less than enthusiastic at first, having taken our children there almost as many times as to the pediatrician. This was selfish on our parts. Unlike the other parents, we both shunned the sun and the beach for hot, crowd-packed Disney parks, just to see the thrill on our little ones’ faces as they experienced its magic. We then repeated it ten years later with our caboose, Kevin–6 to 10 years their junior–and they had the even greater joy of seeing it again through his eyes.
Now, “It’s a Whole New World,” and seems to be a better world seeing it with “Queen D”.
There are a host of new princesses: Elsa & Anna have their own private “homes” where little girls can actually meet them. As she stepped into their magic habitat, our own little gabby princess was speechless, her immovable limbs frozen with awe. She could not walk to approach them–Daddy had to lift her statue-like frame to carry her to meet her idols.
Then, during the parade, her wee voice shrieked “Papa, look it’s Ari….e…..lllllleee so loudly that we could not process what she was saying until the fifteen-foot tall mermaid woodshed passed us, nearly taking us to the bottom of the sea with her. Her wide-eyed amazement at seeing these creatures she had so often ogled on the movie or TV screen come alive right before her filled us with such infectious rapture that we never knew with our own children–because we were too young then to know how ephemeral this magic was. Our young parent minds were unable to see the future. It was impossible to believe, as they clutched our hands, that in only a few years they would not only not cling to us, but would flee much farther than our hearts could bear….to discover their own “new worlds.”
But there can be no greater joy for a parent than watching your own child’s face beaming at the face of your grandchild.