28 March 2011

Long Distance Relationships

Emmaline doesn't see much of her grandparents. By this I mean her paternal grandparents. My parents, of course, she sees all the time. This weekend is an exception. Nana and Papa flew the coop and headed north, dismayed to find there is still a considerable amount of snow in the Washington Valley but thrilled (I'm sure) to have a few days without diaper duty.

Daryl's parents, who live just outside of Chicago, she hasn't seen since the weekend we visited them at the beginning of last month. Before that it was October, when they were here for two weeks to help Em pick out her first pumpkin.

They had commitments elsewhere over the holidays. We stayed home to settle into the new house and keep my mother's collection of Santa's from taking over the world.

Before Emmaline was born, these gaps seemed negligible, a few months here and there or even more. Life was busy; travel is expensive and difficult. As such, phone calls seemed like enough.

But now, in life post Em, a few months bring with them enormous changes. Yes, life is even busier; travel more expensive (my daughter is not a good 'lap child') and infinitely more difficult. But are phone calls enough?

When we were in Chicago not even two months ago, Emmaline was saying words but she was not talking. There is a difference. She would babble. She would coo. She would blurt out almost recognizable monikers like dog and ball and water and even use them appropriately, but she was not talking, not in the way that if someone were to overhear her they might think she was fluent in a language that they did not know. Now she talks. She converses. She has a story to tell. This makes the moments my own parents get to spend with her all the more precious, but it also (we learned last night) opens doors for moments of deeper connection with the set of grandparents who are far away.

Walking upstairs after picking up the family room, I expected to find Emmaline hard at work brushing her teeth and practicing putting stuffed animals in the bowl of her potty. Instead I found her pacing the upstairs hall with Daryl's Blackberry cradled to her ear. She was keeping up a steady stream of conversation, the nonsense punctuated by words I would recognize, such as hi and shadow and owl. She was telling her grandparents about the things she had seen at Drumlin farm. Or else she was telling them about a dream she had where she was an owl and lived in a tree. It didn't matter. She was on the phone talking. The chatter went on and on.

We changed her. We put on her glow in the dark spaceship pajamas and Emmaline tapped her chest and opened and closed her mouth several times to let us know that she still thinks the rockets look more like fish than interplanetary missiles. Then she resumed talking.

Lights out, she waved to her shadow. She cuddled her blanket. She dove headfirst for her crib to signal I should stop cuddling and put her down. Daryl put the phone against her ear once again so she could say night night and yayoo (love you) and bye.

It's not enough. Of course it isn't. But it's something. It's something quite special.

No comments:

Post a Comment