A sad truth has been working its way into my head. Our last baby is growing up. She’s three and beyond delightful and I get to spend most Tuesdays with her. Sierra. One of Grandma’s angels. The youngest of our six.
Yesterday, Tuesday, she sat happily in the back seat while I tooled around town doing a few errands.
“Gramma, do you want to sing Fwozen?”
Now, I have to tell you, I’ve watched Frozen and approve. I know Sierra is particularly fond of it. Her first real passion in life (except for maybe peanut butter toast). But the movie has captivated her imagination like nothing I’ve seen so far.
“How about Let it Go?” I ask.
“I can’t remember how it goes. Will you sing it for me?”
No problem there. In her adorable three-year-old fractured English she begins.
“The snow gwos bight on da mountain tonight . . .” And Sierra is off. Until she gets to a part where she knows she’s flubbed it. And then I hear . . . “Otay, otay. I gotta start over.”
She finishes as we round the corner for home and says, “That’s my favwit.”
“You know my favorite?” I ask. And she does.
“Do You Wanna Build a Snowman.” Sierra giggles as she says it. She’s thinking of Olaf, the snowman Elsa builds for her sister, Anna, before she draws away from her.
But I have to disappoint Sierra. Because I can’t sing that song without tears welling in my eyes and I tell her so. Silence from the back seat. She can’t possibly know all the emotion that song brings to mind.
Frozen is about sacrifice. It’s about love. It’s about sisters. I can’t listen to it without thinking how much I miss my own sisters. It brings to mind growing up with sisters who have given me a lifetime of memories. I can’t bear to think of the moment in the movie when Anna knocks on Elsa’s door begging her to come out, finally whispering, “Do you want to build a snowman?” She’s knocking on the heart of every woman who’s ever loved a sister and wanting her near. And so, having had a beloved sister just leave me and hearing that song – happening together – well, old sentimental Grandma simply can’t sing about a snowman without melting like one.
But I can’t tell all that to a three-year-old, can I? All I can do is change the subject. All I can do is hang on to the precious moments she gives me every Tuesday just like her sister and cousins have done as I’ve taken care of them in their turn. They will all
grow away from me and have full lives out of my sight and I know that’s the natural way of things.
I won’t cling to Sierra as she goes, but I won’t be singing about snowmen anytime soon, either. Would you?
Photo: Shari, me, and Sierra at her baptism party.