I dream of seeing my grandchildren again. It has been almost nine years now, and they are all but strangers to me.
I have had so many fantasies and scenarios in my mind about how a reunion would go down. After embracing them and feeling an instant connection, we would go about getting to know each other, focusing only on the joy of our reunion.
When I picture myself in the middle of this little heartwarming scene, I imagine myself younger than I am now – about the age I was when I last saw them. I see myself grounded, forgiving (of their parents), loving and wise. I see myself vibrant and free.
If this picture could play out in real life, I would have to be a bit different from what I am at this point. I would have to be more enlightened, able to let go of resentment toward my son and his wife, feel more love for myself and appreciate who I am and what I have accomplished in my life. Even though I have worked very hard on these things, and have disciplined myself to let go, practice detachment and compassion, I still struggle.
I think about how I was the last time I saw them – healthy, flexible, strong and still youngish. I am simply not like that anymore. My hair is now grey, I have arthritis and since breaking my back several months ago,I have more headaches and depression. The truth is, I am no longer the person I was, physically, mentally and emotionally. I have changed in ways that sadden me.
However, I have also changed in ways that gladden me. I have learned to let go. I have learned that my perceptions are only that – perceptions – and they are often just lies I tell myself. I am careful with my words and thoughts and I have learned to truly listen. I have turned to creativity for catharsis and expression. I have played more music, read more books, watched more birds in flight, listened to more trees.
If I ever see my grandchildren again, I will probably have more lines on my face, more grey hair, more signs of the long passage of time since we knew each other. I had hoped to be still young enough to squat down and play with them, but of course, that is no longer necessary. They are growing tall and are busy with their lives. As I spend time imagining a wonderful, healing reunion, I doubt they think of me much, if at all.
I get it. Such is life. With each day, each new ache, each new grey hair, I wonder if I will ever see them again. But, whatever the outcome, I must be strong and make friends with the reality that it may or may not ever happen.
And that is one tough assignment.