BY Annette Petrick
I remember riding on the train – backwards. It made me dizzy.
My granddaughters have never poked through my jewelry box or worn my opera length pearls.
My grandmother would pick me up in Brooklyn and we’d take the train to her home in Northeast Pennsylvania. She would keep me for a couple of weeks, or a month and then take me back to my parents. I loved those visits.
I expected I’d be doing the same thing with my grandkids when the time came. But that’s never happened. They’re far away. They’re busy. They have plans. I have plans. And somehow, the opportunity never presents itself.
My granddaughters have never poked through my jewelry box or worn my opera length pearls. They have not ransacked my hat boxes and posed in my old Easter bonnets or waddled about in my high heeled shoes.
Would they enjoy looking through old photos and learning about relatives they have never met?
I wonder what it would take for me to get one of them under my roof for a few weeks. Nothing short of kidnapping, I think.
Would they like it? Would they have wanted to hear the story of how an Asian craftsman took years to carve this ivory tusk? Would they serve tea in the same teacups from which their great grandparents sipped? Would they enjoy looking through old photos and learning about relatives they have never met?
Or would they sit in my parlor playing video games or texting friends at home? Would the visit show how much I love them? Or bore them to tears? Guess I’ll never know.
P.S. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying my granddaughters WOULD reject my version of a happy day at Grandma’s. There is a chance they might indeed have enjoyed their week or so spent in my company. I don’t know, because it never happened.
Over the years, there were delightful family visits. They were always brief and involved lots of family members. They did not inspire the kind of grandma/granddaughter connection that I had enjoyed with my grandmother.
Where lies the responsibility for this missing piece? Should I have tried harder to build time with them? Should there have been more invitations? Should they have voiced an interest in coming over?
Today, they are smart, ambitious young women and I am a loving if distant part of their lives. I am witness to their growth and prosperity. I feel and express joy for their successes. I follow their adventures on Facebook and click hundreds of LIKEs in response. They read my stories and sometimes even respond.
I believe that each of us knows that we are loved and cherished, even if we never got to ride backwards on the train.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – ANNETTE PETRICK
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