Appa

Today has been kind of a crummy day. I mean, everything is fine, we are very fortunate, etc etc. (Seriously though, I’m very aware of how lucky and well-off we are in so many ways, and I truly don’t take it for granted.) Just — a hot sticky July day, my phone is on the fritz, I have PMS, that kind of stuff.

And then this afternoon, I was in my daughter’s room organizing her books. We’re in this constant battle with the closet in her room, trying to organize her books, clothes, toys, diapers, etc. I had books spread all over the floor and was sorting them into various groupings and placing them in bins. I have a bin for German language books (we’re trying to raise her with a little German, we’re both conversational but not fluent, so it’s a challenge! but hey, anything is better than nothing), a bin for “seasonal” books, etc. And all of a sudden a chunky board book landed in my lap — followed by my daughter’s little bum as she backed up and sat down.

Months ago I made her a small board book about my dad. Photos of him, the basics of his life story — where he was born, what he liked to do, etc. Lou wasn’t too interested — it was a bit above her ability level at the time — so it’s been put away. But today, she insisted I read it to her, and so I did — shortening the sentences a bit. On a photo of my parents on their wedding day, she pointed at my mother (who she calls Omi) and said “Mama!” I smiled and corrected her — “No, that’s Omi.” “Ahh-ny,” she said (this is how she pronounces Omi). I pointed to the man beside Omi and said, “and there’s Opa.” “Appa!” she said.

Cue the waterworks! Folks, we do bedtime blessings every single night and point at photos in a book and say “God bless so-and-so” and there are names in that book she still hasn’t learned, even after at least six months of nightly recitation. But Opa? That one clicked right in.

Several more times, she pointed to his face in the book and said “Opa!” Of course, shortly afterwards she lost interest in the book (she paused to look at photos of myself and my brother as babies and declare “gigi!” which is how she says baby, but then toddled off). She brought me her If I were a moose… book and we read that next.

She moves so quickly through the moments, much faster than I can. I can tell you, I have never gotten so choked up during If I were a moose… before.

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