The assignment at preschool was simple: draw a picture of your family. The teacher stapled 15 little pieces of paper on the bulletin board outside of the classroom once the drawings were finished. There were big families and small families. Families with pets, babies, and families that looked like tiny aliens.
Our family, drawn on a piece of neon green paper with an orange marker, looked like your average stick-figure family. Mama on one side with spiky hair, Sam in the middle, tiny, and Dada on his other side, bald, and a bit taller than the two of us. Above our heads two orbs hovered, spirals of orange marker lines, with helpful notes from the teacher that Sam must have dictated: “My great-grandmother.” And over the other orb: “Grand-pap, my dad’s dad. He was special to me.”
Both great-grandma—my grandmother, whom we called “Dedi”—and grand-pap have been dead for more than two years. Sam met both of them a handful of times when he was a baby, then maybe later when he was 1, then maybe once more when he was 2-and-a-half. Yet, it seems, their orbs keep lingering in his mind and right over our family.
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