My husband and I have been apart for 15 days. It's the longest we've ever been apart. The kids and I are in Florida while he holds up the homefront (and racks up the billable hours). We knew it would be difficult to be separated for so long, but it was necessary for me (and the kids) to spend this time with Mami and the rest of my family. Since none of us knows what the exact prognosis is for Mami's deteriorating health (and who ever does?), the husband and I chose not to do a week-long vacation anywhere and instead to drive down here, to my older sister's little exurban town outside of Tampa, so the kids could see their Abuela every day, even for just a short while.
Yesterday the baby turned five months old (he's seven weeks old in the photo). I reminded Mami, who couldn't believe it had been FIVE months since he was born. I remember, after her colostomy surgery in January, how panicked I was -- unable to sleep at night -- at the thought of losing her before the baby was born. I called my friend Jen and told her I didn't know how to give birth in a world where I didn't have a mother. But here we are five months after my third baby swam out into the world. He's here, growing and changing every day. And she's here too, thank God. So it was only appropriate that on this particular monthly birthday, he should save his best coos and brightest smiles for his Abuela. Maybe even he recognized how special the moment was.
Later today I am finally going to spend most of my time working on my video project with Mami. I haven't done much of that since we arrived, because it didn't feel right. Instead, we've stayed up late talking, watching the Olympics, gossiping about celebrities, and just sitting together. We don't get to do it for long stretches, because the kids or her painkillers or my work interrupt or interfere. But after all the kids go to sleep, we have our night-owl conversations.
I want to ask her to fill in the blanks. To answer questions and set records straight. To remember recipes and important dates. To say something the grandchildren should hear and take to heart. I know it will be difficult for both of us, but we need to be brave. I need to ask the questions, so she can provide the answers. We can't wait any longer. My husband arrives Friday, and we leave Saturday. I only have two days, but if I focus, if she's willing, we can create something beautiful for the day when this cooing baby grows up and asks about his Abuela.