My First Letter: Your First Day of School

August 20, 2008

Dear Anne:

You will be having your first day of school sometime this week!

That must be exciting! Or is it scary? How would you describe it to me? Would you call and tell me? Or send me pictures? I would really REALLY love that.

I still have a photo of your father (your biological father, not John who is doing such a wonderful job of being a dad to you) getting on a big yellow school bus in upstate New York in 1986. He was as handsome and proud as you are beautiful.
“What’s ‘bio-log-i-cal father’ mean?”

It means that when you were born you came part from your mother Suzie, and part from my son Brad, the dad you knew for a while when you were a baby and then some weekends til you were four. He went away a two years ago because he had a drug problem, and did not get along with your mom, on what I hope is his ‘low road to enlightenment’.
“What’s en-light-en-ment?”

Good question, I think it’s finding peace (being happy) with yourself and the world and your place in it. It has a lot to do with ‘god’ but we don’t need to talk about that right now. We’ll do it in some other letter.

So your father disappearing does not mean that he doesn’t love you. Or that he doesn’t love me his mom. He always did; nor do I love him any less for making some bad choices. Somehow it was meant for you to be raised by your mom and John, and to have your wonderful sister. And for some reason that I have yet to understand, it was meant right now for me not to be in your life in person. Your mom wants to erase the memory of your former father, Brad, from your life and when you moved, she refused to give me your address or phone number. I can’t even get it from your other grandparents.

Oh well. I get to love you and vision you growing up safe and sound and happy and getting all the things you deserve in life … invisibly. I am the Grand-ma you may not see for a long long time, or ever again. But I will be watching over you from a distance, and sending good thoughts every single day.

I am going to write you these letters and save them. Someday when you’re grown up you may decide to look me up. A very big pile of letters will be waiting for you.

I decided to write to you because it is a way for me to participate in your life on some level. It also should help heal the hole in my heart from not being able to see you and play with you. It fills the time I now have at sixty-three to come and babysit, or help you with your homework, or take you to parks and zoos and theatre and concerts. Time that could have given your dad and very very good mom a break. I get only to imagine doing that.

Pat HansonDo you think you ever will get that old? Sixty-three? I know you can count that high. You did the last time I saw you a year ago. I never thought I’d be 63, but here I am … and I feel and look great. Here’s a picture.

By the way, I would have been a great in-person grand-ma. The way I raised your father (I’ll call Brad that, and John your ‘dad,’) was almost like that. Your ‘other grandfather’ in New York and I didn’t get along either. Sometimes it’s best when that happens, that parents split up and not stick around one another.

So when Brad was six and your uncle Brian was four, I moved to teach college in California and became their long distance mom. They would fly across the country to be with me all summer and one or two school vacations a year. They became bi-coastal and learned the best of both worlds very quickly. We did lots of things I will tell you about in other letters.

This is a lot for one day, before you even go to school for the first time. I can’t wait til you can really learn how to read well! I know you’ve started already.

Just know I love you, and that you will feel this love deep in your heart whether you know it or not.

I hope you get a great great kindergarten teacher.

Your ‘Invisible Grandma’ Pat

26 responses to “My First Letter: Your First Day of School”

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