Passing the Torch

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When I had my first child I lived a seven-hour car ride away from my mom. I remember she would come and spend a weekend with us and when she would leave she would cry when she told her grandson good-bye. I don't know why it bothered me so much. I would say, "mom, you will see us in a few months." Yet, every time she would do the same thing, more tears.
When I had my second child we moved back to the bay area where the kids could be close to my folks. I think one of the best things I ever did for my children was to cultivate a relationship with their grandparents.
They loved it when grandma would pick them up from school. One time I went to pick them up and they were happily eating at her table. One had a Mc Donald's bag, one had Taco Bell, one had Burger King and one had Wendy's. When I asked my mom what this was about she said, I wanted to get them a treat and they couldn't all agree so I let them each get what they wanted.
I smile as I remember that memory of knowing that is what grandparents do. I don't think I really knew love, at least this kind of love, until I held my first grandchild in my arms. It was at that moment I understood for the first time what my mom felt when it came to her grandchildren.
I have just left from a week visit up in Bellingham, Washington. I am remembering back some 25-30 years ago of my mom's tears when she left. The tears were falling down my cheeks as I kissed my nearly 8 month granddaughter good-bye.
As I look ahead I know that there will be many more hellos and good-byes. I doubt it will be easier. I don't live in the same city, same state or even same country as my granddaughter. I know that each time I see her it will be something that needs to be planned out in advance. I find myself looking at the calendar wondering when I will see her again and how much she will have changed.
I am glad she has a nana just a 20 minute drive away from her that she can see often. I think the gift of grandparenting is just that, a gift...to both the giver and the receiver.
I want to document each visit so that she will know how much she was and is truly loved. I want her to know how much my heart ached for her and my arms longed to hold her. I want to make sure she knows that my heart broke each time I had to say good-bye.
Now, I know why my mom cried.