continued

We were back in our house helping the adult kids pack up when the sobs slowly subsided into sniffles. I gave Graham a first aid kit with HUGE Band-Aids and Bacitracin so he could feel more in control. I wanted to say something to help. I bided my time. I have learned that when I am slightly removed, I can see things I cannot see when I am too closely involved. But, I am careful, very careful, to try NOT to step on my daughter’s toes. So I waited.
Then I said: “ Graham, can I talk to your knee?”
(Even my daughter was curious and could not think me as a butt-in-ski.)
Intrigued, he answered: “Yes!”
I said: “Knee, you do not have the power to ruin my grandson’s day. Knee, you cannot take away what my Graham has accomplished today. He swam twelve strokes all by himself!”
Graham smiled through the last of his tears.
And then he looked at me and winked: “Gotcha!” he said.
A few weeks later I was shocked when my dermatologist found something on the back of my calf. Over three years had gone by since I had surgery for melanoma. I go to the dermatologist religiously. I had seen my local dermatologist less than three months prior.
The dermatologist showed me the area of concern. I saw something red the size of a period.
“I just shaved.” I said. “And I probably nicked myself.”
“I have to biopsy it,” the dermatologist insisted. I knew in my heart it would come back as another melanoma.
It did and I was sad and angry. I remembered my grandson and his boo-boo. I wanted to say: “Melanoma, I will not let you take away my joy, my accomplishments, my work, my joy, my life.”
Instead, I went into MSK and had surgery.
“GOTCHA!” I said to my boo-boo.

This excerpt was just accepted to be published in MSK’s anthology 2018.

Our grandson and granddaughter spent a few days with us while our daughter worked extra hours to make extra money that would pay for her family vacation. My husband and I took the kids to the local pool and split up to take turns monitoring the little one at the kiddie pool and the older one in the big pool.
I was in the 3-foot deep section with my grandson, who although he thinks he is, is not a real swimmer yet. He jumped in. He swam three strokes. I high-fived him. He got out and jumped in again. This time he swam five strokes. He repeated this again and again and again. I held my breath when he swam his first 12 strokes on his own. TWELVE! Sure his form was terrible but a few lessons would fix that.
We went to get ice cream to celebrate. Graham saw his mom first. She had come to pick the kids up. She lifted Graham up, and kissed him and then congratulated him. She put Graham down and asked where June was. I told her she was with her grandpa and she started walking toward the kiddie pool.
Graham remembered something he wanted to tell her. He started to run after her. His clogs were wet. He was tired. The inevitable happened. Graham fell on the concrete and skinned his knee really badly. He got hysterical. (He is at that age when he worries that the blood will drain out of his body like the water empties in the bathtub.) He needed a Band-Aid to hold the blood inside. My daughter scooped him up and carried him to the First Aid Station, where the lifeguards cleaned his wound and covered it beneath a big Band-Aid.
But Graham is intense and he was overtired and generally does not do well with transitions and he had a great time with us and he loves his mom and it was time to leave and the booboo hurt and he cried and cried and cried.
We let him sob it out because we all know you cannot logic it once the emotions have crossed a certain line. You just have to wait it out.

To be continued…

It’s All in the Name

My daughter and her husband are in their thirties. They named my grandson Graham after no one.  However, his middle name is his father’s father’s name.  I tell myself that they really named him Graham after my father, Jerome.  “G” is kind of like “J.”  And both names have “r” and ‘m.”  I tell this to myself so often that I really believe it and I have in turn told this to my grandson, so that a piece of my father, lives through him, and my grandson has roots.

I am a gardener and I know that the deeper the roots, the stronger the plant.