So what can I say of them now? Not very much, I'm afraid. I've been working on an exhausting job for the past three weeks so I've seen very little of the girls. We shoot all night long on Friday nights (tonight is a Friday and it's no exception) so I see the girls for most of the day Saturday and all day Sunday. On Monday, I return to work before the wake up and get home long after they're asleep. Fortunately for me (and I'd like to think for them), I'm a freelancer and this job will end the morning of April 13th. During my all too brief phone call with Eliza last night, she asked if I'd be at her spring concert next Friday and I gleefully announced I would be.
So three weeks, is not all that much to miss out of my girls life. Except today it really feels like it is. With four more very long days still laid out in front of me, this time away feels incredibly long.
On March 11th, my grandfather died. He was 104 and not doing all that well, but still seemed insanely healthy for a man his age. What I'm trying to say is that I should have expected he'd die but still I didn't, I had no idea he could. March 11th was a warm, fairly sunny day. The girls and I were recovering from the flu. In celebration of our new, healthier bodies, I took the girls to get some spring clothes. I bought several outfits for each girl and one pair of shoes each. I came home and got the phone call shortly after our nice evening together. There it was. My grandfather was dead. I sat there holding the phone after my mother had hung up, wondering what I was supposed to do now.
C came down with the girls the following day for his weekly visit and was his usual, unhelpful self. I tried to figure out how I'd get to Pittsburgh to be with my family. Flights were over 1,000 dollars a piece. I cried, thinking I'd not be there. A little perseverance paid off as I discovered vastly cheaper flights at a different airport. While I booked mine and Eliza's reservations, C took the girls to the park. Not long after he'd left, he called to say Elena hurt her leg. We took her to the emergency room and after a few ankle Xrays yielded no broken bones, they diagnosed her as having a sprained ankle. Two days later, with her still not walking, I delivered Elena to my father and traveled to Pittsburgh with Eliza. We weren't there for much longer than 24 hours. Faces I hadn't seen for many years blurred in front of me as my grandfather lie motionless in a casket. The funeral was beautiful. Four of us grandchildren got up to say how much we thought of him. It was nice to hear everyone's words and stories about him.
I came home to find Elena still not walking. After finding an orthopedist willing to squeeze us in, I came home several hours later with a daughter in a full leg cast. It all seemed surreal. I'd left my beautiful baby girl with some one else, not knowing she had a broken leg. I had them put the cast on in pink so Eliza would like it. She later told me she'd rather it be purple. I shook my head feeling like I'd failed on more than one level. I put the new shoes I'd bought Elena the week before in the closet. I remembered the prior week, shopping at the Jackson outlet, the girls playing in one of those motorized cars you feed quarters to. All this while my grandfather lay on a bed, his heart failing.
The following Friday I spent up all night shooting a scene on a boat. We wrapped at 6:30am. Exhausted, I powered through that Saturday with my girls. I had little time to think about the events of the past month and what I've missed.
Now here it is, four Fridays later. As I type this, my parents are taking Elena to the doctor to have her cast taken off. Hopefully everything will be okay. Yes, I should be there but I'm not because I'm here in New York, soon to leave to meet a van that will take me up to our dreadful night shoot upstate. C will come down tonight to spend the night and tomorrow with the girls so I can rest a bit before taking over as Mama for a little more than 24 hours.
But like I said, as a freelancer, this job will end and next Friday, I'll be there for Eliza's spring concert. I'll be there at her school's bake sale. I'll be there, hugging my girls and Elena will hopefully be walking again and these past few weeks will feel like they hadn't happened.
Except my grandfather will still not be here. I last saw him alive in August of 2010. I tried to get a photo of him with Elena but anytime I put her anywhere near him, she cried. So no photo, no proof of their meeting will ever exist. Yes, I am lucky to have had this man in my life for 43 years but he was a man of such vast, of such inexplicable greatness, his loss is huge.