The Great Plotnik

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Tuesday Night Lonesome

Isabella is homesick. My gorgeous granddaughter has come from Brooklyn to San Francisco to spend a week with us while she goes to SPCA camp, but she's never been so far away from her parents for such a long time. Earlier tonight she was crying a bit so we decided she should write her parents a letter. She sat down at the computer, thought it out and wrote that she missed her mommy and daddy so much that, the way she saw it, there were two options, either she should come home or, Option 2, maybe they could come out here?

It's around 10pm. I've come up to her room to tell her some stories. I got home late because I was in LA all day visiting my mom, Isabella's Great-Grandma Rose, who turned 101 today. I told Isabella I missed my old Southern California home sometimes too, even though today is our 22nd Anniversary of living up here. I told her I miss my mommy just like Isabella misses hers, but that what I miss most is the way Mom used to be, in the old, cantankerous days when you could tell her a joke and hear her big laugh.

And I explained to Isabella that I understood how she misses her daddy because I miss him too. I told her about the time his teacher wrote a note home telling us to "please ask Daniel to refrain from swimming on his desk." I told her about how he and I used to stand on San Fernando Road and listen for the train whistle and watch the Coast Starlight roll by. And then I asked Isabella if she'd like to hear her Daddy sing when he was two or three years old. She said she'd like that.

So I found the old cassette recording we made of him singing "I've Been Working on the Railroad." It's a treasure and made us both howl. And then she wanted to hear Auntie B. singing "Big Sister." And then she fell asleep.

I'm still up here in her room, that used to be Auntie B.'s room, and I hear her breathing softly as she sleeps, and I remember sitting the same way with my daughter as I do now with my granddaughter, leaning against the same pillow against the same window, as the jasmine-scented breeze pours in, and I'm filled to the brim with nostalgia and love, both sad and sweet, because you don't get one without the other and sometimes you don't fall asleep until you cry a little.


At 11:39 AM, Blogger mary ann said...

Awwwwwwwwww so glorious - how is today?

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Kristin Luce said...

Such a lovely piece! I recently heard the term "bittersweet bridge" to describe the experience of a husband watching his wife go farther into dementia -- he was losing her, but she would be happier on the other side, when she no longer suffered the confusion and anxiety of being only part-way there. It resonated with me, as I watch RR just on the far end of the childhood bridge, ready to step into adolescence, and it works here too, as the grandparent's joy is only available when he loses his child to adulthood.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger notthatlucas said...

This was great to read - thanks for writing it up. You are a great grandpa (well, not in the sense of having a great grandchild, but looking at her and how old and big she's getting, it's not hard to realize that your "great" time is not as far off as you might be thinking).

At 11:09 PM, Blogger J and J said...

What a special gift you have to share the special feelings of today! How special to see your 101 year old Mom on her birthday and your beautiful granddaughter as bookends to your day! Doug, I love you but am a wee tad bit jealous, too.

At 11:40 PM, Anonymous Cousin Seattle said...

What a wonderful idea to bring her mom and dad to SF, but littler versions of themselves! I miss you, too, and am looking forward to the next time you get to sing to me (past or present/future you)!

Maybe it's time to write "That's what grandpa says"?

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Oh man, you're killing me.

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Blond Bombshell said...



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