I had the absolute honor and privilege to be there when she was born. Her Superhero Mama brought her into this world in the “usual” way, but with added grit, determination, and courage. Exhausted later, she put me “in charge,” then closed her eyes to rest. When three generations of the new her’s menfolk came in to meet her, it never even occurred to me to hand her over. That little bundle and I had a tight grip on each other and have had ever since.

When I came home from work, the former first lady in my life would get an audio and visual check, then it was right to the bassinet, then the crib, then the playpen or wherever the new first lady was resting or playing. I remember her Mama and I marveling as we watched her.

“One day she’ll have her own voice.”

“One day she’ll come running up to meet us.”

“One day she’ll call us Mama and Nana.”

One day came so very fast.

I would step into the door and hear the pounding of toddler feet, the loud and long call of “Naaaaannnnnnaaaaaaa!!!!!” given vibrato by the running, the Doppler effect changing the pitch of her voice.

After the sweeping-up and hugs and kisses, I would whisper the question she was awaiting in her ear. “Wanna go to Nana’s b?”

She would spin on her heels, and, screeching, lead the run to my bedroom at the end of the hall and the daily play on Nana’s “b” (bed) which included much jump-jump-jumping.

Although we are still daily fixtures in each other’s lives, Tuesday night is ours exclusively. We still call it Nana Baby Night (NBN), but now instead of playing on Nana’s b (which we could both be forced to admit we still do occasionally), we now go to parks or obstacle course play areas or, like last night, the mall.

And last night at the mall as we walked, she did silly funky dances and engaged in so much witty banter and snappy comebacks that I was blasting my signature high-decibel laugh so often I’m sure 90% of mall-goers heard me at some point. And this wasn’t the laugh-cuz-you-gotta laugh. This was the yer-killin-me-Smalls laugh. When we got home, instead of me showing her funny animal videos on my phone, she showed me cleverly done animations on her iPad.

And tonight, she goes to the initiation meeting of her church youth group.

Youth. Group.

How in the world….?!

I’m not going to say I don’t miss the toddler run and jump-jump-jumping on the b. I’m not going to say I don’t miss the whole stinkin world getting better just by holding her on my lap, my chin on her head, just smelling the smell of her. But I spent last evening thoroughly enjoying my time with a well-rounded, humorous, clever, intelligent, sensitive, wholesome young lady. During the day she’ll send me a silly text message or share with me a poem she wrote that is filled with such depth it’s scary.

And then when I get home, I’ll still hear, “Nana!” And she’ll still come running. And she’ll still snuggle up under my arm.

And the whole stinkin world will just get better.





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