I am on the final day of my weekly three-day grand-daughter duty. We are sitting at her sweet white desk and she is showing me the options she has for choosing gear for her immanent battle with the Titan in the amazing online math game, Prodigy. I’m not feeling engaged with the options: which helmet, which wand? I find my mind wandering, thinking that maybe I should gracefully exit and check my email.
And then this thought stops me: what if there’s a test? What if, at the end of my life, when I face the 42 Assessors and Ma'at, the feather of truth, lies lightly on the scales, this momentary drop in my close attention to my beloved, precious, only grandchild dooms me to the Underworld?
I don’t remember when I adopted the two mottoes that sit across my shoulders like the twin sephirot, judgement and mercy, but I have long recognized that for me, these two ideas anchor my primary directive:
There is no time out: everything counts.
Love is a communicable ease.
I made a commitment to this grandchild before she was born to be here for her in every way I could. She would know in her bones that she could rely on me to stand up for her, to model love, generosity, and truth. She would feel so secure in my dedication to her that she would be able to get angry at me, reject me, and ignore me when she needed to and know that when she turned around I would be there, arms open. She would understand from our history together that my reproving criticism, if and when it came, was a fair assessment intended to help her find guidelines for a better version of herself that she, herself, recognized.
I think I am doing a good job making good on my commitment, the reason I moved across the country six years ago. My son and daughter-in-law tell me I’m a wonderful grandmother. My son told me not too long ago, “I wish I’d had a grandma like you,” to which I answered, “I wish you had, too.” My Mom lived from the head up. Her unconditional love for her children and grandchild was demonstrably indisputable, but the family dynamics that had nourished the garden in which she had come to adulthood held her stiffly; expressed intimacy and playfulness eluded her.
So I am left wondering. Are my monetary lapses of attention OK? I tell myself, of course they are. We’ll see.