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Grandma Back

We had just dropped off my wife, aka Grandma, at the ferry terminal. Time was tight so the style of her departure resembled more an evacuation than a leave taking. As I started the car, our two year old granddaughter – aptly named Grace – began to shriek “Grandma back! Grandma back!”

The pain of being without Grandma – or perhaps it was her sense that we had abandoned her beloved grandmother – did not lessen for many miles. Slowly the demand for “Grandma back!” was replaced by “Mommy, Daddy!”

We were headed in their direction but covering the 12 miles in a traffic jam was going to take awhile. My vague assurances of “Soon we’ll see your Mommy and Daddy” provided no comfort for the wounded heart and no solace for the deeper yearning.

More minutes in the stop-and-go traffic and the sobbing pleas became more specific, “Mommy, Daddy, hug.”

The pleas struck like an arrow.

Depression was a frequent guest in the home of my childhood. Through no fault of her own my mother suffered a depression, the effects of which only left our home temporarily. So somewhere through the mists of time my soul resonates with the depth of the cry “Mommy, Daddy, hug.”

We learn we are loved and cherished – or not – in so many ways. As I’ve aged so too has my appreciation of the ways my parents loved me.

Still, a part of me yearns for a hug from the Source of our being, some moments where soul and spirit simply sink into the safety, warmth and strength of what the old hymn used to name as the Everlasting Arms.

After exhausting, with no success, my usual repertoire of tunes it was clear that “Row, row, row your boat” was not going to be sufficient to meet the deeper need.

Following some divinely inspired impetus, we developed a form of a litany, front seat to car seat.

“I know your Mommy really loves you Grace and really wants to hug you.”

And Grace would answer, “Yeah.”

“I know your Daddy really loves you Grace and really wants to hug you.”

And Grace would answer, “Yeah.”

I would affirm the reality of love, the desire to hug and be hugged. “Mommy and Daddy will be so glad to see you they will scoop you up and hug you tight and your Daddy will toss you up in the air and say ‘I love you Gracie.’”

And Grace would respond, “Yeah.”

With the litany refined and repeated we made it to the end of our journey.

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