Image is one of may favorite pictures in all the world – Oomah holding Brooke as baby, 2003
Sunday afternoon …
We are sitting with my grandmother. She’s been in and out of sleep since we arrived. Mostly in.
It’s hard to tell now when to go, to leave her to rest, and when to stay, just to be there, to share the space, to hold her hand with faith that she will know, even in sleep, that we are there with her.
As Grandma sleeps, Brooke wriggles in and out of my arms. She can’t stop moving, talking, laughing.
She trips over a wire plugged into the wall, triggering a call to the front desk. An attendant rushes in and I reassure him that everything is fine, apologizing for the inconvenience. He smiles at Brooke as he takes his leave.
She is scripting at hyper speed –
My head is not a football!
Is Winnie the Pooh a boy or a girl?
Eh? What’s that dear?
They are all her routines with her great grandma. She’s cracking herself up at the memories.
I relish her joy but I’m worried that she’s laughing too loudly.
“Shh, baby,” I whisper in her ear, “We don’t want to wake Oomah.”
Her tolerance for noise has run thin. I fear the angry “Shhh!” that will accompany a stir. I pull Brooke close and try, try, try to gently reign her in.
“Let’s just sit quietly,” I whisper.
It’s not working. Of course it’s not working.
I know it’s time to leave, but I can’t yet. When I asked Grandma earlier if she wanted us to go so that she could sleep she clutched my hand and said, “I don’t ever want you to go, my love.”
I just … can’t.
“Please, kiddo,” I whisper urgently, “I need you to sit with Mama. Oomah’s sleeping. We need to be quiet so that she can rest.”
She squeals happily. Loudly.
I am at a loss as to how I can convince her that we need to be quiet to show Oomah love.
Her love is loud and messy and big, not quiet and gentle and small.
She giggles and worms her way out of my arms, heading for the corner of the tiny room. I try not to panic.
And then I watch in silence as she reaches for the blanket that we brought Oomah the last time we were here – the blue one, her favorite color, gloriously soft. The one that I told the girls I wanted to find because I wanted to “leave Oomah with a hug” when we had to go home.
I watch in silence as Brooke brings the blanket to the bed and spreads it out over her great-grandmother, slowly, carefully placing it on her sleeping form. She pats it down and, without another look, walks away.
Tears well in my eyes as she turns to the door and says, “It’s time to go.”
I bring her out to Luau to wait in the dining room while I sit for a few more minutes, trying to convince myself that it’s okay to leave.
As we’re finally packing up to go, I ask everyone if they want to come back in to give Oomah a hug and say goodbye.
Katie all but yells, “Yes!” and runs down the hall, eager for more time. Luau follows.
And Brooke answers as if it is the most obvious thing in the world, “I already did.”