Saturday, May 06, 2006
We've had 3-yr-old granddaughter Abbie since last evening. Her dad (our son) dropped her off last night. He and his wife both work weird hours; she's a night-shift nurse and he's a firefighter-paramedic who works 24 hours in the station and then has 48 hours off. More often than not, Abbie's at home with one or both of them, although since turning 3 she goes to Head Start every day during the week. Anyway, last night and today Abbie's been here. She is totally OK with having other people take care of her. Seems totally confident that she'll be fine and that someone will give her lunch.
But she occasionally does or says things that show she misses her parents after all. She doesn't talk much... some of my readers know, but many don't, that Abbie has Down Syndrome. She's delayed in some ways but not in others. One of her delays is speech. She says a few words and uses a lot of American Sign Language. This morning she saw a red truck like her dad's driving past in the distance, pointed to it and asked, "Daddy?" Hoping that was him, coming to pick her up.
I went running for a couple hours while my husband cared for Abbie. When I got home, she was ready for a nap. I got under the quilt with her on our bed and recited "The Golden Egg Book" several times (from memory... I've been through a lot of toddlers) till she went to sleep. I ate/refueled and checked some email, then decided to get a shower while Abbie was still sleeping. But the shower in our RV is in the bedroom, and I made noise opening the glass door. Abbie sat up like a shot, still 80% asleep, and asked foggily, hopefully, "Daddy?" I lay down with her again, telling her it was just Grandma making noise but Daddy would be coming soon. She turned onto her side towards me, put her little arm around my neck to scooch close to me, kept her arm there, kissed me, and went back to sleep, having not even fully awakened.
She expects Daddy to come for her, wants him to come, looks forward to his coming, remembers even in her sleep that he's supposed to come.... but is totally content to snuggle up to Grandma and sleep some more. She is one of the most affectionate and by far the most adaptable child I've ever met.
Lying with small grandchildren over the years as they've gone to sleep, I've always flashed back to lying in the exact same way with my own small children, and marvelled at the wonder, the miracle, the astonishing privilege, of now lying thus with their children, and that these children love and trust me enough to snuggle to me and sleep.
Life is good.