It all started with a thought about Maeve.
My darling niece is just over four months old. She discovered her hands not too long ago and is now infatuated with her right palm. She stares at it, she sucks on it, my sister calls it Maeve's new best friend. Maeve is growing strong and healthy and gearing up for open heart surgery at the end of March.
I think about her all the time.
A couple nights ago I daydreamed about a Big Girl Maeve. She was about three or four years old and had long ringlets of fiery red hair cascading down her back. Maeve was playing dress-up in an elaborate princess/fairy gown and in my fantasy she was running towards the knees of her Papa.
My dad is going to be a great grandpa. He is gentle and kind and his eyes sparkle when he talks to children. He is silly and and plays games and makes funny voices that instantly induce smiles in any kid. He was my hero when I was little - and he's my hero now that I'm big.
He is destined to be a good grandpa because his father - my grandfather - was a great grandpa.
So there I was, smiling about my Maevey Bean hugging my dad, when I abruptly burst into tears.
Now, I will admit from the offset that I am a bit more emotional than usual this week, but the water works were also brought on by a shocking concern that flashed through the very essence of my fiber.
Do my parents know how much I love them?
I thought about Big Girl Maeve giggling in her papa's arms, and the synapses in my brain raced back to when I was a curious, silly dramatic little girl in my papa's arms. And then the chemicals in my brain flashed through to the 22 wonderful years I had with my papa - those wonderful years that were chock full of bedtime songs, rides on the tractor and driving lessons at the fairground.
22 wonderful years.
Does that mean Maeve has 22 wonderful years to look forward to with her papa?
Do I have only have 22 wonderful years left with my dad?
And that's why I started sobbing.
I've been on this earth for 31 years, and I don't think I'm even close to expressing to my parents how much I love them.
I don't know if 22 years is enough time.