|The Amazing Ramona|
I bought three children's books with Ramona in mind, adding to the collection at home. As I sat in the sun and waited to Warren to swing back around for me, I wondered about the books I had just purchased and when to send them out west. If I bought all the children's books that caught my eye, I would be bankrupt. If I shipped all of the children's books I already have, Ben and Alise would have to jettison furniture to make room for them.
It has been eight months since we have held Ramona: that baby is long gone. We have been Skyping regularly as of late, and I marvel at the child Ramona has become. She blows kisses (smacking her hand to her lips and shouting "mmm-WAH!"), flails a hand (sometimes two) in hello or goodbye, and occasionally leans in startlingly close ("My, what BIG eyes you have, Ramona!") while bustling in and out of the camera range. It is always highly entertaining.
It's not the same as being there, wonderful as modern technology is. I hope that when we are finally all together again, Ramona will recognize our voices and make the connection between Grandma April and Grandpa Warren on the computer screen and Grandma April and Grandpa Warren in real life.
Alise's mother Mona (aka Grandma Mona) is a frequent visitor to Portland and is headed back there for Halloween. I'm grateful Mona is in Portland so often. She provides parenting (and mothering) to Ben and Alise and deeply devoted grandmothering (i.e., adoration) to Ramona. But I'd be less than honest if I said I wasn't a wee bit envious of her frequent trips.
It's hard to be a long-distance grandmother. As I pick books to send out, I sigh, wishing I could settle Ramona on my lap and we could turn the pages together. I just sent out a footed sleeper printed with dinosaurs and I want to be the one tucking her toes into the footies and zipping it up to her chin.
The last time we Skyped, Ben and I talked about the blocks. These are the wooden building blocks Ben and Sam played with, including the same ones my brothers and I played with and some of the same ones that my mother played with when she was little. Ramona will be the fourth generation to play with these blocks and I know it is time to pack some up and ship them out. But it's hard: I want to see Ramona play with the blocks at my house.
In the spring or early summer, my Portland three will be coming east for a visit. There is a lot of family here who have not met Ramona, and many who have not seen Ben and Alise for many years (seven come this Christmas, but who's counting?). Do I need to add that I am looking forward eagerly to that visit?
Between now and then, it is a long, slow walk to the future. I know there will be more books; there is already a growing stack in the closet for Christmas. And the candy corn socks at the grocery today? (I went in for fruit and dish soap, really.) Well, they are already in a sealed envelope with Ramona's name and address on it.
And I will be living on furious waves and a big "mmm-WAH!" tossed to the sky, waiting for the future.