Dear Dad,

I remember that day at the fair when I was only five-years-old. I lost you and panicked and ran to catch up and grab your hand. Imagine my fright to realize I had chosen the wrong hand! I knew how your hand felt and knew I had erred. Soon I found you and the comfort of your hand holding mine has stayed with me all my life. How I wish I could hold your hand now.

It is hard to be so far away and think of you lying in a hospital bed with a broken leg, a new mechanical hip joint, and doctors probing and testing you for cancer. I am afraid for you, afraid for us. We need you. I need you. I need to feel your hand and know all is well. The universe seems to jump a gear and run haywire sometimes. I feel now just the way I felt that day at the fair when the wrong hand’s face leaned over to me and said, “I bet you think I’m your daddy, don’t you, little girl?”

I’ll be coming up soon to take care of you and Mama for a few weeks. It will be so good to sit near you and talk to you. It will be good to touch your hands and know it is you and you are getting stronger and soon will be working again, carrying in firewood and building a fire, pouring a cup of coffee, wielding a pen over a crossword puzzle, lacing your work boots, shoveling snow, planting your garden, greeting a friend with a handshake, tousling a grandchild’s hair.

I see that day. I know it will come soon and I will be comforted even though my own hands should be the ones doing the comforting this time. I think I will always need you, Daddy.

Love you,
Elece

Dear Dad,

I remember that day at the fair when I was only five-years-old. I lost you and panicked and ran to catch up and grab your hand. Imagine my fright to realize I had chosen the wrong hand! I knew how your hand felt and knew I had erred. Soon I found you and the comfort of your hand holding mine has stayed with me all my life. How I wish I could hold your hand now.

It is hard to be so far away and think of you lying in a hospital bed with a broken leg, a new mechanical hip joint, and doctors probing and testing you for cancer. I am afraid for you, afraid for us. We need you. I need you. I need to feel your hand and know all is well. The universe seems to jump a gear and run haywire sometimes. I feel now just the way I felt that day at the fair when the wrong hand’s face leaned over to me and said, “I bet you think I’m your daddy, don’t you, little girl?”

I’ll be coming up soon to take care of you and Mama for a few weeks. It will be so good to sit near you and talk to you. It will be good to touch your hands and know it is you and you are getting stronger and soon will be working again, carrying in firewood and building a fire, pouring a cup of coffee, wielding a pen over a crossword puzzle, lacing your work boots, shoveling snow, planting your garden, greeting a friend with a handshake, tousling a grandchild’s hair.

I see that day. I know it will come soon and I will be comforted even though my own hands should be the ones doing the comforting this time. I think I will always need you, Daddy.

Love you,
Elece

A Baby Born

Dear Mama,

This week I was the grandma. I rushed to Audra’s house to keep the children while she gave birth to another little one. This time she was experiencing a slow labor with long gaps in the pain. The work was worrisome. The hours passed slowly. Eventually, the contractions picked up and soon my third daughter was birthing her third daughter.

As the baby was born to us and we saw her little self all wet and soft, we realized the awesome power of life, and at the same moment felt the complete helplessness that defines us as humans. The baby girl was well prepared for her earthly journey. God built into her all that she would need to survive her lifetime. Her heart, her lungs, her stomach and internal organs, her skin and hair, her brain, and even her ears and eyes would  make her able to grow, walk, read, talk, explore, and work in her spot on the planet.

Yet, we could do nothing for her except to love her and make her comfortable. We could not guarantee her to be strong and well. We had not given her breath or made her blood flow through the arteries and veins.We could not keep her alive if God deemed otherwise.

It is hard to be the grandma knowing what I know now. I know that this new baby’s infant days will pass quickly and that before her parents can imagine it, she will grow into a toddler and then a little child twirling in the center of the living room showing off her pink dress ruffles to Daddy. In a few more months (or so it seemed to me) she will turn thirteen, and a few minutes later go off to college and/or head down the aisle as a bride. Before long, she will be calling her Mama to come assist with her own baby’s introduction into the world.

My girl will try, as I did, and as you did with your brood to make them happy and healthy. She will try to never miss a day of fun and learning. To make every day count, but time marches unmercifully on.

I helped my daughter and I watched her suffer and strain and I saw the tears of exhaustion turn to tears of joy at the sight of her precious baby. I was honored to be there. I was happy to be there, and terror stricken, and dismayed, all rolled into one grandmother.

I laughed. I cried. I hoped. I feared. And I thought of you, Mama, and how much I have always depended on you. How much I needed you and still do. I hope that I am as good a mama to each of my daughters as you have been to me.

Love Your Third Daughter,
Elece

 Audra with her new baby girl, Madison Louise.