Two worlds, a six-hour drive apart — a tale of the long-distance grandmother

I wake in the morning knowing it is the last day, after more than a week of days, with our grandson Luke who celebrates his birthday today. I try to chase the sadness away and fight the tears that threaten to spill from my eyes.

“There you are,” I say as his mother carries him down the stairs and into the dining room where I work on my computer. “Good morning!” I say as I have said for all these days.

He looks at me and smiles his brightness. I wonder if he will look for me tomorrow.

The morning passes quickly. Diapers, bottle, breakfast, books, puzzles, cars. Time for a nap. Party preparations occupy our minutes.

The guests arrive; lunch is served; a single candle lit.

I take one last quick hug and a kiss, brush my fingers across his soft cheek, then turn and walk away to hide my tears. My son gives me comfort in a hug on the drive. We get in the car where our bag and cooler of food and drinks replace the car seat with Luke on our outings and trip to the zoo. We drive away, down the street where I pushed Luke in his stroller.

The car engine moves the wheels that carry us away, minutes then hours, miles and miles.

I can still hear his soft voice saying “book?” with a hopeful look towards the shelf lined with colorful titles of thick-paged stories.

I turn my thoughts to home where my garden, books, music, and little white dog wait for me. Have the trees of our woods changed color this week?

At 4:00 I wonder if Luke got his afternoon nap on this busy birthday party day.

I can still feel his little arms clasp my legs as I sit on the sofa, wanting me to lift him up onto my lap.

I think about the seasons and wonder if I should get out Halloween decorations. Probably not this year. There are no children or grandchildren home to see them, and the long private drive deters the neighborhood children from trick-or-treating. Maybe just a fall table runner and “Give Thanks” sign. Perhaps an uncarved pumpkin beside a pot of mums.

It’s 8:00 and I wonder if Luke has gone to bed in his little soft sleeper with the zipper from ankle to neck.  I can still hear his little bedtime chatter through the intercom as he talks himself to sleep in words only he understands.

I think about how happy Arthur will be to see me.

We pull in our driveway and a little furry white head pops into the window of the door and then darts away. Arthur waits for us at the door to the garage.

We’ve left a world of hugs and kisses, laughs and baby chatter, books and puzzles.

We’re back in our world of quiet, peace, and photographs in picture frames.

I’ll listen to my music in the morning as I read my books and work, Arthur asleep on the pillow by the window.

Two and a half months until Christmas.


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26 thoughts on “Two worlds, a six-hour drive apart — a tale of the long-distance grandmother”

  1. Lovely and touching. I’m sure that he will look for you tomorrow. I know that our memories fade as we get older, but my brother told me that his earliest memory is of my grandmother looking at him in the crib. You never know what will stick with a child, but I’m sure that the loving arms of his grandmother will indeed be a comfort to him forever.

    Enjoy your home, and put up at least one ghost.

    Lisa

  2. Oh my dear, I feel for you. I don’t have grandchildren (yet) but I could feel Luke’s little arms in your words. Emotional.

    Here’s a virtual *hug* to get you through these long months.

    I hope sweet Arthur will work magic on you 🙂

    ~Mar

  3. Christine….this was hard to read today (yes I cried) because I just said goodbye to my daughter two days ago when she headed back to school after fall break. It’s always hard for me so I can well imagine the difficulty saying goodbye to little Luke. It’s funny you would say that about Halloween, too, because the first thing I said to my husband after she left was: “I don’t want to do anything for Halloween this year — let’s just turn out the lights.” I feel so selfish when I say this, but for me I only have 5 weeks to wait until she’s home for Thanksgiving. And yes, I’m counting the days.

    1. I know. The joy children bring us is tempered by the sorrow they cause. Parting is sad. I’m so happy your wait will not be long. With all the writing you’re doing, I suspect the time will fly.

  4. I enjoyed your post, Christine. I’m a long-distance grandmother, too. I’ve only seen photos of my great granddaughter. She’s beautiful, too. I can’t wait to meet her in person.

    God bless and keep your little Luke safe and happy.

    1. Thank you Carol Ann. My parents have only seen Luke once. I look forward to him visiting them at Christmas. He truly is a bright spot of light in their lives.

  5. I miss my son up in Greensboro and just had a daughter. He is up there because his ways and he does not take any lip would get him shot in Miami. I am bitter. But his ways and certain habits prohibit him from being here and I regret that his life style choices put the distances between us. As an only child , It hurts me more . “…photographs in picture frames” don’t get it for me.

    1. I hear you, Carl. Photographs don’t really get it for me either. What can we do? We raised them to be independent. Their independence sometimes leaves us behind, doesn’t it?

  6. I can relate in a way…I don’t see my family very often. I was just home for a family reunion. We had a great time but it is always hard to leave. Especially not knowing when I will see them again. Hopefully for Christmas.

  7. Oh gosh… this brought tears to my eyes. Very touching post.

    I don’t see my granddaughters as often as I’d like. Hopefully soon, but with all that’s been going on it may end up being Christmas.

  8. I can imagine what it’s like for my parents. They have grandchildren on both coasts of Canada, and they live in Ontario, so seeing the grandkids that are at a distance can be a challenge to say the least. Thanks for posting this!

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