When I was younger, I always imagined my parents would be close by and that they’d be grandparents in the most active way. I never imagined I’d lose my father to kidney failure before I made him a grandfather, and I never imagined I’d be living four thousand miles away from my mother when I made her a grandmother. But to love and live and let live is how I’ve always lived my life, both, when I was younger and now.
Now that I’m older, I Skype with my mother with Noah always in the picture. Through our Macs, my mother talks to Noah and she sings to him Korean nursery songs about bunnies hopping in the woods and polka dot mommy and baby cows and other painfully cute vignettes. And as Davy and I readied all this week and yesterday morning, before picking my mother up at the airport, I began to all of a sudden worry. I worried that Noah would not warm to her, his halmuhnee, right away. I wondered if my mother would feel any kind of hurt if Noah was unfamiliar and bashful. A thousand and nineteen dramatic what-ifs ran through my head. I analyze everything, as a lifestyle choice.
I even declined a babysitting offer from Noah’s grandparents here, because although it’s always “easier” to make a run to the airport without a baby in tow, I wanted Noah physically with me and Davy for the whole of yesterday. I wanted Noah there at the airport as his halmuhnee arrived, and there the whole way bringing her home. I wanted them to share the backseat on the drive from the airport while Davy and I listened to them babble, from up front. I wanted them to have that time alone before loving visitors would descend upon us. And as we waited at the arrivals gate, I felt a rush of very nervous energy. My mother rolled her suitcases out through the doors and rushed towards us, as Noah sat in my arms.
Noah was bashful at first but as soon as my mother started singing one of their special Skype songs, he unburied his head from my shoulder and dazzled her with his smile. I was so relieved and Davy was laughing the whole time while filming us, and holy shit I had worried for nothing. Noah knew his halmuhnee and overnight, they’d reconnected in such a beautiful way I know everything will always be okay. They bumped their foreheads together in a silly game only they know the rules to as I made breakfast this morning.
Noah is lucky to have loving grandparents everywhere, here in Ghent and in New York, and sometimes all at once at the same time in the same place like these next three weeks. I wonder where Noah will be if and when he makes me a grandmother. I wonder if I can be as patient and loving and gracious as my mother is should I ever find myself the long distance grandparent in the distant future.