I used to do a lot of journaling. Handwritten reflections in neat little notebooks, stacked in rows on a library shelf. But not so much lately. The past six years, since I started blogging, this has become my primary means of written rumination. Which is to say, you, my readers, have become privy to my diary of sorts.
Faith stories, and family stories, and today it’s unapologetically the latter. Today I’m writing to remember and preserve a moment in time, too precious to lose in the flurry of life. To be exact—I want to remember a day in the life of one perfectly precious little girl, who just happens to be my granddaughter, Maisy.
We hung out for an entire day, Saturday last. It’s not the first time, of course. She’s been breathing the air of this planet for nineteen months. Nineteen months, which is to say, time enough for the most remarkable miracles of growing and learning and becoming, minute-by-minute unfolding before our very eyes. We are admittedly smitten.
WE being Pops and Nana. Ridiculous names, we see that now. It is, honestly, an embarrassing trend, this grandparent-naming. Choosing for her, before the child even has a say, and what if—for example—you end up being confused with the innocent toddler’s favorite fruit? Hypothetically, of course. And, let’s just say the little tyke’s Great Grandpa, with whom you are currently living, already goes by Pop? Subtle distinction, that final “s”—not even the grownups can keep it straight—and we’re requiring this of a language learner for whom “uppie” means both to raise and to lower.
Oh, it gets worse, this ripple effect. Great Grandma, who is forevermore Grammy to any and every blood relation, now shares this name with the Other Grandma. Leading to a request (and I will admit it’s clever) for the alternative GG—or is it Gigi?—I haven’t thought to ask. But I do digress. This diary-esque post was meant to about the child, and not the confusing saga of our assorted names…
So here we are. Saturday last. Mom and Dad are off taking pictures of a bride and groom in a magical snow-globe pine-grove nearby, while Pops and Nana and Pop and GG hunker down in the townhouse with nothing to do but THIS. A whole day to simply enjoy our Maisy.
She is delightful. Did I already say this? From birth—we’re all in agreement, parents included—impossibly good natured. Eliciting comments like, “I wonder what we’re in for with baby number two?” (Due already in March.) Her only imperfection, if you can call it that, is a bit of disagreement when the food runs out. (Did I mention her passion for nanas?) And considering the multitude of toddlers who refuse to eat, being a bit overzealous hardly seems like a thing to worry about.
Second to eating, our Maisy’s favorites are naps and books. Proving—and I think this is obvious—her uncanny resemblance to her NANA. You’re going to have to indulge me (which, if you’re still reading, you already have.) Here’s the thing. Somewhere in a big blue storage pod forty or so miles from our current location are several climate-sealed plastic bins full of the only evidence that could ever convict me of anything resembling hoarding. That being, my books. Including dozens of my absolute favorite stories for children, and I’m just holding my breath hoping Maisy will not outgrow them before we haul those boxes to the second-story library of our soon-to-be-built house.
In the meantime. Last week, anticipating our special day together, I swung by the bookstore. I read several, mostly board-books, cover to cover. Thinking about Maisy, determined to pick just the one she’d like. And I nailed it. Whimsical illustrations set to the lyrics of What a Wonderful World. Oh my. A story you can sing! And one can only imagine how it warmed my heart when that little darling crawled up in my lap, over and over, all day long, eager to hear me read and sing it for the umpteenth time.
I can feel her still. Uppie-uppie for another snuggle. “Point to the fishy…” and we pause our reading for some good ol’ fish-kisses on soft round cheeks. More singing. This time “head, shoulders, knees and toes…” pulling off her own socks, she tugs on Nana’s too… “eyes, and ears, and mouth and nose…” fleshy little finger following along. Later it’s fingers for puppets—four woodland critters in a pink rope basket…owl on pointer…fox on middle…racoon on ringman…bear on pinky. One by one onto Nana’s fingers; one by one, back in the basket; again and again and again.
She naps long, never minding her bedroom’s a closet. Blankie and nookie, and sound machine. I wait and I rest. And wait some more. Until finally I decide, it’s been long enough, the day too short to sleep it away. I sneak in quiet and she peeks at me from out of the dark.
Up again and exploring the world, she toddles about, examining GG’s treasures. Teacups behind glass, a tipsy candle, remote controls. You can tell she’s tempted, but the little angel talks out loud, reminding herself, “No. No. No.”
Too soon the wedding is done, and a text comes from parents, “on our way home.” We pack bags with all the essentials. Snow gear worn briefly for an outdoor adventure with Pops and Maple. Rubber bib, and highchair mat. Infant toys, outgrown now that baby’s a toddler. Diaper supplies, and don’t forget Blankie. The car is loaded. We wave good-bye, watching at windows as they drive out of sight. And then. The phone rings. With the best news ever.
“No travel advised. We’re on our way back. Staying the night.”