“A big tree fell down,” two-year-old Auggie says, her little face scrunched in concern.
We have just arrived at daughter #2’s.
Last time I saw this granddaughter she was just eighteen months and barely talking. She shows no signs of knowing who Ric and I are, other than telling us her big news.
Five-year-old Sloane has wrapped herself around my legs in a tight hug. I hug back.
“Oh I’ve missed you,” I squeeze.
My daughter hugs me, baby in arms.
“Missed you, Mom.”
We move towards the living room where I can sit down and get a better look at the kids. Sloane has sprung up so tall. Auggie continues to talk about the tree. It is very windy outdoors (must have brought it with us) and I guess they saw a tree fall on a house on the way home from daycare.
I get on the floor with the kids and we play, and the time away diminishes as we resume old games. Auggie asks the computer to play Wiggles on Spotify and soon we are having a dance party. It feels so good.
Later, my eldest daughter arrives with her six-year-old and it is long, hard hugs again, and I am in my element, surrounded by my grandchildren.
“Are you crying?” Finn catches me.
“I’ve just missed you, and I’m so glad to see you.”
She hugs me tighter.
Then my son and his wife arrive and we are a full house.
Being away from home for so long allowed me to get in touch with parts of self that had been shelved for so long. I needed to break out of the mother role for a while. I can see how healthy it was for all of us.
But today, armed with casseroles and presents for the little ones, I am stepping back into the old familiar role and loving it.