Yesterday, I helped Audrey pack her 4 little guys into her car after a brief stop at my house to retrieve a very important item – Henry’s blankie.
All was well with the world at that point. Henry held his blankie safely in his arms and the older 3 were snapped in for the short ride home. I kissed each of them. Then Alex said, “Grandma, wave to us at the door.”
William responded quickly, “She always does.” He paused for a moment and added this little inquiry… “Why do you always wave, Grandma?”
“Because I love you,” I answered. And soon Audrey’s car was backing out of my driveway, I was standing on my little side porch under the little overhang and we were all waving good-bye. It is sort of a rite-of-passage that each child began to wave from the car at a particular moment on a particular day. Audrey would call on her cell phone and say, “Did you see (whomever) waving?”
I do this. I wave. I wave to Barry each morning as he pulls out of our driveway. I wave and blow kisses when people I love leave my home. But yesterday is the first day I really thought about it. And now I have a second answer for William to add to my “because I love you.”
As a child, ever since I can remember, my Dad waved to us. Hearty waves. Big, full waves. He waved when we took off on our bikes. He waved when my Mom piled us into the car, even if it was just for a quick trip to the grocery store. He waved when we began to pull our own cars out of our driveway. He waved when I, his only daughter, hopped into cars with boys… and I always loved that he did that. That tiny gesture meant the world to me. I felt loved.
The night before my Dad died, I had stopped by for dinner at my parents’ home. It was a hot night in August 1975. It was just the 3 of us… We talked and laughed and talked some more. I had just been notified that I had been selected for a teaching position and my parents were so very happy for me. My Dad had been hospitalized earlier in the summer after suffering a mild heart attack, but that night he was all Dad. All smiles.
And all waves. As I hopped into my little white Volkswagon Bug on that hot August night, my Dad was at the door waving and blowing kisses. He called to me, “Sis, do you need anything?” My Dad called me Sis… he is the only one who ever called me this… and I knew he meant did I need a little spending money. I called back, “Nope. I’m all set.”
And we waved.
This is the last memory I have of my Dad. He died early the next morning. But it is a memory locked into my mind like a priceless painting. And I know now that this is why I wave, my precious little William. It’s because each time I do, that priceless painting is not a still-life. It is life. Life is all its movements and touches and kisses and hugs. And waves. Fingers and arms attached to the heart and the soul… from somewhere where my Dad still lives, even to this day.
When I wave and blow kisses to the people I love, I do so through my Dad… and these moments make me live. Happy. Happy. Happy.
This is one little Habit that I love. Love. Love.
Waving… it’s that simple.