The Things We've Handed Down

She feels like her days are more numbered. I can tell by the way she takes more time in moments she never thought twice about. I see her visit her own mother in the tired space between her furrowed brow. She wants to tell me that one day I will understand, but she doesn't want to be cliche, because sometimes I think that she is, and I've probably let her know more than once. But this time she uses intentional language, sharing only her perspective, careful not to project anything on me, but secretly wanting me to see the connection. Of course, I do. She talks about her parents more than I ever remember, or maybe I am just listening, because like her I know that where she is I might go, and where they are, she will too. When she doesn't know I am looking I see a sadness in her I've not ever seen, maybe even a sadness she has never felt, until now. I feel it too, but it's wrapped in joy because I was given that gift too.

She is eager to show her granddaughters what her Dad used to do with her. I remember her showing me this when I was young. It's only now that the details mean so much. Fast food straw wrappers turn into growing caterpillars. It really is clever. And cute. And it made Octave smile like she did when she was three. Pure and majestic, like she was absorbing the very last breath of awe left in the world. I wonder who taught this to my grandfather. I hate that I never cared until now.