Zippidy - ZOOM – VROOOOM! My heart took off like a rocket! It went missing the moment I became a papa. Nana and I were over the moon with excitement peeking at him for the very first time.
How quickly the mood changed when a nurse stole him away for a check-up. I felt an empty, fluttering feeling in my chest and a lump in my throat. I said to myself, “Whoosh! There goes my heart”! Little did I know this empty-heart feeling had captured me for the rest of my life.
As time passed, three more adorable little munchkins blessed us with their souls. That same heart-lost feeling hit me like a jack hammer. After each visit, our goodbyes seemed to grow longer and longer. At that dithering moment, my heart wanted to stray away with them
We started looking after the gang one day a week. Diaper changes, bottle feedings and much baby talk ate our day up. I read the same book over, over and over again. I was a child playing on the floor with cars, trucks, dolls and blocks. Nana baked cookies. They screamed and jumped on me until I was worn out. Many times, I felt so tired I thought I would not last the day. Strangely enough, as soon as they were gone, it felt like something precious was missing. That same old run-away-heart feeling raced over me. Again I said to myself, “Whoosh! There goes my heart”!
As they got bigger and stronger, so did their energy. They scampered around the house leaving trails of destruction and empty drawers. They scrambled my television and changed my computer. Bathroom visits were a celebration. They fed their lunch to the dog. They teased the cat. I called them the hurricane kids. I was worn to a frazzle when it was time for them to leave.
As we waved goodbye, I noticed a strange far-away frozen look on their faces. I wondered if they were just tired or worn out like I was. To my surprise, they were barely out of sight and that same old “There goes my heart!” feeling stampeded over me again. A tear clouded my eye as they disappeared. I truly missed them!
Those fleeting grandkid days quickly flew by. Being with them was a priceless delight. I paced the floor and peeked out the window awaiting their arrival. As soon as I saw them, my restless heart suddenly lit up through my eyes. Their visits were my biggest treasure. They walked on my feet and use me for a horse. We played hide and seek. We watched cartoons. We played hockey in the basement. I did things they liked again and again and again and again. We sang Beatles' songs and danced the Twist until I was dizzy. We wore costumes. We created cardboard pirate ships and castles. I even dressed dolls and had tea parties.
We planted a garden and raised Monarchs. I answered the many loud “why” questions over and over again. Hugs, kisses, and giggles fed my hungry heart.
They learned to love Mother Earth. We smelled wildflowers. We hugged trees. We fed Chickadees out of our hands. We caught frogs. Nature became part of their lives.
My heart ran away with them each time they left no matter how old they were. The good thing was they boomeranged it back to me with each special visit. A slobbery kiss, a big hug or a simple “Lub you papa.” made my heart flutter like a butterfly.
I knew then I would never ever get my heart back. As they grew up, I wondered how many amazing “There goes my heart!” moments I had left in my fading time. I thought about each time they left the nest like the first day of school, going to camp, first sleep-over, college and other bitter sweet-goodbyes.
One time, when they were leaving, I saw that familiar far-away look perched on their faces. I asked, “What is wrong sweetie?” With tears rolling down their cheeks, they sadly sobbed, “We will miss you papa”!
Finally, I understood the meaning of that mysterious far-away look! It was simply that very same loving “There goes my heart!” feeling that forever had captured me.
Giving and getting love is the best gift ever!
“Life is like a whales footprint. Grandkids are the biggest and best ripples.” Frank glew
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