In the last two months, we’ve been across the ocean and back, ended one school year while taking baby steps into the next, and – most significantly – we are facing the loss of our children’s great-grandmother.
This is a big deal in our home. Yes, the woman was 94, but she has been a central figure in Kiki’s life since she was a baby – and The Boo’s, as well. She has been here to cuddle them, sing to them, spoil them with snacks and hush them to sleep more effectively than anyone else was able to. As they would get older, she would clean up behind them as they scattered toys around her living room, and she would encourage them to raid her snack closet (as always made sure she had their favorite treats). She would even switch the channel from her beloved soaps to Nick Jr. or the Disney Channel and got to know Dora the Explorer and Curious George as well as we did.
For the past few years, part of Kiki’s evening routine involved heading downstairs to Omi’s place to sit and watch TV with her (Wheel of Fortune, Full House or one of those Disney tween shows). Omi told us many times how much it meant to her, since it was a time of day when she would typically be alone. And I know how much it means to Kiki. While she was in school, sometimes it was a struggle to keep up that ritual because activities and homework would last until it was past bedtime – and bedtime was less negotiable when she had to meet the school bus at 7:30 in the morning.
So our year of homeschooling made a difference here, too. Even on those days Kiki’s activities kept us out past dinner, she still got in her time with Omi. She also got in a lot of bonus daytime visits – often a surprise for Omi, since she kept forgetting that Kiki didn’t go to regular school.
I’ve told her many times that not a lot of kids her age have such close relationships with their great-grandparents, and that she should feel very fortunate. When her grandfather died a few years ago, she felt his absence, but her memories of him aren’t completely clear in her mind. Because of the last year, especially, I think she will have no trouble remembering her time with Omi.