'Nana Bairbre, can we go to your favourite place and bring Romy too?" The invitation from my three-year-old granddaughter was delivered in her gorgeous, sunshine-bright voice and is now on repeat in my head.
Lily wanted to go for French toast to our local dog-friendly café, the Mayfield in Terenure, and bring Romy, my Yorkshire terrier.
Toast for Lily, a sneaky rasher for Romy and we won't tell the vet.
Lily came down the stairs, slowly but assuredly. She didn't know it, but her dad was bringing her out of my house and into the car, and I watched it all through the narrowest of gaps in the living room door. It was Lily's last visit and I won't get to see her for I don't know how long.
Vector. Just a horrible word. "Children are like petri dishes," a friend told me on the phone, horrified I had even gone to an activity centre with Lily the previous weekend.
We are in touch, but it's not the same, and the other day we cut the cake on WhatsApp. It was not a Mother's Day treat but a birthday cake for her dad.
I think being a grandmother is a different mothering experience because you've more time on your hands and a wisdom to enjoy the little moments. You can relax and stop and smell the roses because you are not trying to mind a gaggle of kids. I'd happily jump on the swings but, as I recently found out, granny-width hips don't always fit between the chains.
That said, when I am in the playground, I've been accused of taking too many photos and videos - but that's just me, the frustrated wannabe photographer. I'm glad I had them as I sat at home and scrolled through my phone.
The evening news can be so depressing, fuelling the nerves, and that keeps you awake. But sleep is important for your immune system so I've been trying to break the cycle by listening to the radio and chatting with friends.
Becoming a granny in my 50s only brought out the child in me. Did it ever really go away, some people might ask.
I'm happy to kick off the boots and climb on all fours into her tent.
Last week I set about tidying the house and ventured into the bedroom she uses when she comes to stay. Ah, bless. She had tidied away her toys and Lego and I felt an almighty urge to climb into the pop-up tent I'd pounced on after scouring five branches of Flying Tiger.
I resisted the temptation and went downstairs and made myself a cup of tea. Opened the fridge to find one of her little juice bottles. Another wince. But we got to talk on the phone later and seeing her little face is so much better than the phone calls I had as a child with my grandmother in Cork. It works so well, without being the real thing.
I realise of course that this sudden break in our physical communication is a heart-breaking full-time reality for Irish parents whose kids had to find work abroad.
My kids were fortunate. They were just a few years younger and there were jobs and opportunities when they finished college, but for so many Irish grandparents the sadness of a Sunday Skype is a year-round reality.
So now I'm home alone, with the faux eggs I'd bought for us to paint together. Instead I'm treasuring all her little paintings she's left around the house. I'm also doing my homework and learning about 'Paw Patrol', so we can chat about that.
I've gone through boxes of photos and I've found the ones she wanted to see of her dad as a baby and at her age now.
I'm going to hold it up to the screen tomorrow when we have his 'virtual' birthday party in two houses.
On my last sortie to the supermarket, I spotted Easter eggs just as I made a sharp 45-degree swivel to get into the shortest queue. I looked back again, but the choice was bewildering and I didn't have time to text her dad to see what she might like.
Imagine, her paternal great-grandfather, Billy Power, had a chocolate factory and here I was not buying my only grandchild an Easter egg.
I will make it up to you, Lily. We will have lots of adventures together, and French toast too.
In the meantime, keep being your happy self. Love from your Skyping granny. X