I remember well the hands of my grandmother. Twisted by age and scarred by life, they were the soothing touch of my childhood. They were love to me, and adventure. They were the soft touch on my cheek and the competent strength that created and sculpted toys from random scraps of wood.
They are symbolic of the childhood I want for my children, safe and protected, and also creative and fun. I wish that my children could know their great-grandmother better. She was my childhood muse and my beloved playmate. She was everything I thought a grandmother should be, and I have thought myself fortunate to have her.
My own sweet children weren't blessed with a grandmother like this, they were gifted with an Oma instead. They are not her own flesh and blood, but you would never know that if you saw the spark in her eyes as they run into her house calling her name. The cry of "Oma!" bounces off the walls and fills her home, but more importantly it fills her heart. They are her own.
She can tell you when they walked, first words, favorite dinners. She knows best friends and secret dreams. She has been their family for almost nine years, longer than most of them have been alive. How fortunate we are to have her.
Yesterday was her birthday, today they gathered around her table and sang the birthday song in their own awful, off-key way and then ate the birthday cake she had made. They gave her red daisies, giant hugs, and the whole of their hearts. I gave her my eternal gratitude.
In a world where children are often lonely and confused, this wonderful woman holds a baby, kisses toddler cheeks, bandages scraped knees, and loves my sweet ones with all the love in her heart. She may not be family by blood, but my babies know better. She is their own Oma, she loves them with a grandmother's love and in her touch they know the wonder of a grandmother's hands.
Happy Birthday, Oma. We are so grateful that you are our own.