On the long drive to see my New York City grandkids for the first time in more than a year, I felt both excited and nervous. I’d been summoned two days early to cover for the much loved nanny who needed to attend a family funeral. I knew my six-year-old grandson was old enough to remember me from all of my previous visits. Besides, we’d FaceTimed, and he’d proudly showed off his new reading skills, bringing tears to my eyes when he read me Hop on Pop, his dad’s favorite book when he was little.

But my almost three-year-old granddaughter was a different story. I could tell from our efforts to FaceTime that she had no idea who I was. She was much too small to retain any memories of me. I worried that once her big brother had left for school, she’d be running and screaming into the back bedroom where my son was working remotely, demanding not to be left alone with this strange lady.

As it turned out, it went fine! Maybe it was because I’d arrived the night before, and she got the idea that everyone in her family knew “Mee-Ma” and seemed to think I was A-okay.

Whatever it was, she accepted me into her imaginary world. We spent the day putting her baby doll, along with her baby doll’s sidekick, Mickey Mouse, to “bed” several times. My granddaughter fed me countless desserts prepared in her miniature kitchen. And we engaged in numerous conversations in which I played the role of Goofy, and she was either Minnie or Mickey. Best of all, she gave me hugs. I hugged her back. A lot.

Why is it that the things we worry about the most often turn out not to be the terrible, horrible scenarios we’d imagined? Although my granddaughter hadn’t retained any memories of me, somehow, she knew me.

So here I am in the Big Apple, not caring the slightest whether we actually go anywhere (other than the park.) I’m feeling so grateful to spend these hours with my grandkids. If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught me, it’s to never ever take for granted time with my loved ones.

Which is why I need to sign off now. I have lots of hugging, and playing, to do.

 

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