When Story was born, my mom and grandma came up to help me. I knew how lucky I was to have four generations in one house, full of love and laughter and exhaustion. The bonds among the women in my family have always been rock strong, and I hoped that Story would feel the same. But I worried.
My parents live about two and a half hours from me. This is completely different from my childhood, during which I saw my grandma nearly every day; she lived just across the pasture. My sisters and I had ample opportunity to get to know that marvelous woman, and she in turn helped to raise us in a way. There was never any question about the strength of our family ties; they were there in plain view every day.
Story doesn’t have this luxury. She isn’t able to see her grandma whenever she wants. She can’t pop in for a treat or advice. She can’t pack a bag, declare she is moving out, and head down the road toward Grandma’s house. This really worried me. I had a fabulous childhood, and I wanted Story to have the same. I assumed she would have to live in the same circumstances for that to happen. I needn’t have worried.
My mom is the ultimate human being in Story’s eyes. She can do no wrong. She is the knower of all things. She is the epitome of love, fun, laughter, and all things good in this world. She is summer, Christmas morning, and birthday surprises. She is Grandma. And she wears that role perfectly.
This past week, I had to travel for work. As it is summer, Story was able to spend that week at Grandma’s house. Story had looked forward to this for weeks and referred to it as her vacation. It did not disappoint. “Mom, you can’t be mad, but Grandma said she is going to spoil me all week.” Yes, she did. But she gave Story much more than just gifts and treats. She gave Story a retreat, a place that is special, a “vacation.”
It may not be ideal, but the distance between this girl and her grandma has nothing on the bond that they share. If anything, it makes that bond more extraordinary. It isn’t the everyday bond of family that is easily taken for granted. It is the bond that is recognized and purposely nourished.