My little grandson is sick. My little grandson is sick and I had to leave him and come home. Things are tough in my world.
To leave him on a good day is hard, but to leave him on a day when his little voice is raspy and his little body is hurting is almost more than this grandma heart can handle. It’s strep and he will get over it. Lots of little kids do. But, those little kids don’t have my daughter’s eyes and her goofy smile. They don’t have my husband’s birthmark or my mother’s temper. This little man is so many parts the people I adore that I really have a hard time being rational when it comes to anything concerning him.
Really. A very hard time.
So, on the morning I had to leave him, I got up the second I heard him cry. I met his mama in the hallway and waved her back to her temporary bed on the couch and I went into his room. Then, I tried everything I knew to make him happy. No matter that it was 4 a.m. No matter that there was no coffee in the house. No matter that the only thing that quieted him was a Barney video. I thought I had served my time in the world of people who have to watch Barney and was finally free twenty years ago. Alas, that was just life playing a cruel joke on me and I am once again drowning in I love you, you love me…like I mentioned…things are tough.
But, I persevered. It’s my little grandson. I would do anything for him. Even tolerate Barney. Thankfully, after thirty minutes of school yard songs and children dressed in sweaters looped over their necks and pink socks, my little guy started to calm down and get sleepy. I was thrilled. This meant rest for him and it meant I could leave knowing he was peaceful.
So, I sat in his rocker. I arranged his favorite white blanket under his cheek the way he likes it. I adjusted his chubby legs so they didn’t dangle and I pulled his blue, bull-dog pjs down over his little tummy. I was creating the perfect scenario where he would feel how much I love him and go to sleep and have illness-smashing rest. This was going to happen.
As the final touch, I asked Echo to play Amazing Grace by Alan Jackson. Usually, I sing it to him as I rock him, but that morning I had too many tears clogging up my voice so I asked Mr. Jackson to fill in.
Now, I am going to tell you this next part only to prove my earlier claim that I struggle to be rational when it comes to this little grandson. I sat there looking into his blue eyes, feeling my own eyes filling with tears again (I did mention I was minutes away from leaving him!) and feeling the weight of the goodbye hanging between us. Knowing that it was going to be weeks or even months before I saw this little person again. Knowing that he would change drastically in that time and knowing that he holds a lot of what makes me really happy within his sweet little self. It was a very large moment full of love and emotion and sorrow. And, in the middle of all of that, Echo answered me with absolutely no deference to what was happening. She was as cheerful as if I had just arrived for the visit. As if I had weeks to spend with him. It made me angry. I’m not kidding. I felt a flash of irritation for the dumb little disk on his dresser that follows our commands and plays him music.
“You are a stupid machine.” I said, with what I’m sure was an inappropriate amount of derision, and then I glared at her. At it. At whatever it is.
All of this really happened. I am not attempting to be humorous. In fact, I am still angry. I thought about it the whole nine hours home in my truck and, every time I did, I felt another little flash of irritation. It truly upsets me that so much of our life and relationships are shared by a tangle of wires and numbers and computer thingys that will never understand the emotion held in a single life moment. That when you are holding your sick little grandson and rocking him to sleep and waiting for his eyes to flutter shut– it is one of the best and worst moments that has ever unfolded. Best because he’s there in your arms. The weight of him. The way his breath slows as he fights sleep. The worst because you know as soon as he loses the battle and goes to sleep you will have to lay him carefully in his crib, turn on his ceiling fan and closet light and get in a car and leave him. Leave him. Your sick grandson. Drive away. Take yourself somewhere he isn’t.
A moment like that deserves proper pathos and not a stupid cheerful computer voice. All of these machines just don’t get it and yet we welcome them into our humanity. Our most treasured moments. And then, they don’t even behave properly.
Sigh. I should have just sang Amazing Grace myself. No slight to Mr. Jackson– who does it so well. Maybe, if I had, my little guy would already be feeling better. And, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this for all of you and glaring at my own Echo who wasn’t even there that morning and is as innocent as a computer thingy can be.
And you thought I was kidding when I said I can’t be rational when it comes to this grandson of mine.
As I’m sure I mentioned, things are tough.