Posted by: Kathy | June 23, 2009

A Raggedy Ann Doll

This past weekend, we celebrated my daughter’s third birthday. Nikki was so excited and this was the first birthday that she understood what was happening, so I wanted to make it special for her. Although everything went well and Nikki had a lot of fun at her party, there’s a sadness in my heart because my mom wasn’t there. And I can’t help thinking about all that she missed – singing “Happy Birthday” to her granddaughter, seeing Nikki’s face light up when she saw her cake, her granddaughter’s special day. But it’s more than just missing a party. It’s not like my mom was out of town and will be there next year, or she’ll be able to see Nikki at the next family get together. My mom is gone, and there is no “next time” for her.

My mom was thrilled to be a grandmother. She adored the kids and it showed in all the things she did with them and for them. Nikki was barely two and a half when my mom died, not old enough to really remember her. Nikki knows her grandmother through pictures. She’ll kiss a picture of my mom or give it a hug, and she’s done this since my mom died. So I guess Nikki must have some sort of “internal” memory of the relationship she shared with her grandmother. Nikki also saw my mom as angel several times after she died.

My mom loved planning the family birthday parties for the kids and always got them special gifts. She had a handmade Raggedy Ann doll that she was saving to give to Nikki. Last year she thought that Nikki was too young to want something like a Raggedy Ann doll and told me I could give it to her on another birthday. I told my mom she could give it to Nikki on her third birthday and hoped that she would still be here to do so.

After my mom died, I looked for the doll because I wanted Nikki to have it at some point soon. I mentioned to my dad about giving Nikki the doll for her birthday this year. He put tags on his gifts, like at Christmas, and the tag on the present containing the doll said “To: Nikki, From: Grandmom.” Before all the guests arrived for the party, I showed Nikki the present and told her that it was from Grandmom Angel. I explained how my mom had gotten the gift for Nikki before she became an angel and that she wanted Nikki to have it for her birthday.

Nikki became more and more excited as her guests arrived and gifts of all shapes and sizes were placed on the table and floor. She kept asking to open her gifts, but I wanted to wait until after we’d eaten, which I’m sure was torture for my little girl. When it came time to open the gifts, I asked Nikki to pick the one she wanted to open first. She pointed to a box on the table and when I picked it up, I realized it was the gift from my mom. Nikki remembered which one it was, and when I placed the doll in her hands, she gave it a big hug. I wish my mom had been there to see the smile on Nikki’s face when she hugged the doll.

Before my mom died, I pr0mised her that I’d keep her memory alive for the kids, and I think that’s why I wanted Nikki to have the doll for her third birthday instead of waiting a year or two. For Nikki, it’s a reminder of how much her grandmother loved her.

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