小小宝贝 brought home a book from school for his weekend reading. Children’s book, how exciting could it get? He picked this book – “Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs” from the little library in his classroom.
It’s a very simple children’s book about the author’s childhood which he spent with his Nana Upstairs – his great-grandmother and Nana Downstairs – his grandmother. It was beautifully drawn with short, easily comprehensible sentences that described the activities he had indulged in with his grandmothers, down to poignant little details, that seemed a great deal to a child like the sharing of mint candies, sitting tied to chairs so that they didn’t fall off. All these would have been very mundane activities to adults.
Then one day, his Nana Upstairs died and she was no longer sitting in her usual position in her bed. The drawing of the bed took up a whole page, the void was amplified.
Tommy began to cry.
“Won’t she ever come back?” he asked.
“No, dear,” Mother said softly. “Except in your memory. She will come back in your memory whenever you think about her.”
From then on, he called Nana Downstairs just plain Nana.
And then Tommy grew up, Nana Downstairs also grew old and moved upstairs and then she, too, joined Nana Upstairs with the stars.
With its simple sentences and beautiful drawings, it tugs at the heartstrings of both adults (me) and children, while reminding us that passage of time spares no one, even our parents who have grown old without us realising it. Cherish the time with them if you are lucky enough to still have them with you.