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It’s naptime and we’ve just finished peeing, pooping and reading two chapters from a fat library book of Woody and Buzz Lightyear’s adventures in Andy’s room. I turn off the light and switch on the “sleep sheep,” which sounds like waves crashing gently onto a tropical beach. Little r, my three-year-old grandson, loves to chat a bit before sinking into his 2-hour slumber.

“Gooma,” he yawns, having given me this beautiful name, changing my identity forever when he was less than a year old.

“What, darling?” The sleep shade has been drawn over the window out of habit, even though it’s winter and there’s next to no light other than from snow. It’s very dark in my bedroom where r has decided to sleep this afternoon, and I’m getting drowsy.

“My mama is not your mama, too.” r announces, snuggling close, his head on my chest, his small hand fumbling under the comforter for mine.

“You’re right, r. I am your mama’s mama, and also your grandma. You’re your mama’s little boy and your mama is my big girl.”

r cracks up, kicks the covers off his feet, rolls over, snuggles close again. “That’s silly, Gooma! My mama’s not a big girl! She’s a doctor!”

“Oh, that’s right. Sorry, I must’ve forgotten. Thanks for reminding me.” r reaches for the bottle of water on my nightstand, takes a drink and asks, “Who is your mama, Gooma?”

We pull up the covers, get comfortable again, and just as I’m about to answer there is a tap on the door. C, r’s dad, has come to kiss his son good-nap.

r sits up and, now that my eyes have adjusted to the dark, I can see he’s frowning.

“I’m having a nap here today, Daddy, with Gooma. In her bed. Not upstairs. We’re good.”

C , a seasoned, stay-at-home dad, smiles, stifles a giggle. “Oh, so sorry to disturb you, r. I just came to give you a kiss, but if…”

“Oooookay,” r says, reaching out to do his duty. And then, patting his dad on the back adds in the most adult-like voice I’ve ever heard from a toddler, “It’s okay. I’m fine. I don’t need anything.”


Sleeping Child by Bernardo Strozzi (15811644)

16 thoughts on “I’m okay. I’m fine. I don’t need anything.

  1. We entered the room with you, M and I, and enjoyed the whole thing, laughing and in the end, a bit teary-eyed. I named my grandmother Mimi — I’m the only one who called her that. I could not say grandma. M wishes he had grandchildren. I sometimes wish I’d been able to have kids myself. I get to live vicariously through good writers like you, sweet Gooma. ❤

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  2. What a precious, heartwarming comment Katie. I’m absolutely touched that you and M were able to connect with this moment in r and my life. Thanks for letting me know. I bet your Mimi melted each time you called her name. ❤

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  3. Sweet moment in time–how lucky that young man (and the one who entered the room to check in on his son) is/are to have you as part of their life, this life. That’s what came up for me the most. Thanks for providing witness to this juncture of wonder.

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  4. Ooooooooh, such love! It’s enough to melt all the snow in Alaska—if you wanted it to. You just reminded me of how our preschool teacher told us to write down conversations or conversations we overheard when our kids were that age. It brings back so many wonderful memories. This one will stay with you forever.

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    • What a darling, observant person you are, Jilanne! Thanks so much. About writing down conversations, absolutely. For years I kept a journal on my children, D and M…writing down their brilliant insights and remarkable adventures. Then one day I just stopped. I think it was about the time I realized I actually existed beyond motherhood. But Goomahood, this may just go on forever.

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  5. Such a loving and profound post, Susan. My favorite passage: ““Gooma,” he yawns, having given me this beautiful name, changing my identity forever when he was less than a year old.” My lovely grandson gave me a name as well before he could even say “g” – “Ahma.” And as you so eloquently write, these are defining moments in life.

    Liked by 1 person

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