To all of my cousins, my mom was “Nana.” I think that name was coined by my oldest first cousin, Terry. They’ve all called her Nana as long as I can remember.
When my wife and I had our first child, we asked Mom what she wanted to be called – Grandma or Nana? She was adamant: “Liam can call me Nana. Not Grandma, or Gramma. Nana.”
So all my kids call her Nana, too.
My little Conneely likes to draw. In fact, all the kids do (well, except for Finn, who is 10 months old). While Liam and Rowan like to draw various things (animals, spaceships, rockets, etc.), Conneely’s forte is cats. Or as she calls them, “kitties.”
When Nana was in the nursing home, Conneely would draw her pictures of kitties. Most times, Conneely would get in the car with me and we’d drive down to visit Nana with her kitty pictures.
And Conneely would almost always forget to bring them in. “We’ll give them to Nana next time, okay?”
Of course, it was my fault. Conneely is two. I’m…a lot older. I should have just gone back out to get the pictures. But it was always so hard leaving Mom that I didn’t want to do it two times in a row.
So, it was always “next time.”
Today, Neely (that’s what we call Conneely) came up to me with a piece of paper in her two little hands.
“Me made kitty picture for Nana.”
That broke my heart. I didn’t tell her that we couldn’t give it to Nana. EVER.
We told all the kids the day Mom died what had happened and what that meant. In the best kid-friendly way we know how.
But she didn’t get it. She may not get it for years. And by then, she won’t remember her Nana. She’s too young.
Conneely only knows her Mom’s parents. And they won’t be around forever either. I just hope we get those kitty pictures to them before “next time.”
Because sometimes, “next time” never comes.