I stood in the airport, my eyes so full of tears that I could barely see my six-month-old grandson's face as I bent to kiss him one last time. My son, an air force career man, was being sent to Turkey, and he was taking his wife and baby with him. "He won't know me when you get back to the States," I said brokenly.
"Now, Mom," my son tried to comfort me. "It won't take you long to get reacquainted."
"How?" I wailed. "He won't even be able to understand a thing I say." I was referring to my heavy southern accent, which would be almost like a foreign language to little Damon when they returned in three years.
As the weeks passed, my self-pity turned into fierce determination. I would find a way to make a bond between me and my little grandson, no matter how many miles or how many oceans might stand between us. I bought a children's picture book, a blank cassette tape and a disposable camera. I popped the blank cassette into the recorder and read the picture book aloud, using the same tone of voice and accents I would use if reading to a child. When I finished the story, I spoke a few words to Damon, ending with, "Always remember that Grandma loves you very much."