Celebrate National Grandparents Month in September

The Next Generation

The author’s grandchildren
I often wonder what some grandmother in the future will be writing about her experiences. Regardless, childhood will keep rolling along, each one unique and precious as life itself.

As for me, I’ve kept memories alive by re-reading my journals. In this way, I can recall the sweetness of special moments: Observing seven-year-old grandson John head out for soccer practice. “Got my soccer shoes,” he says in a low voice, “got my shin guards,” his voice lower still, “got my soccer shirt,” he growls, and off he goes.

And the day my five-year-old granddaughter Lina asks me this strange question: “Can you rub the armpit of my leg?” 

“What?” I respond, dumbfounded. “The armpit of your leg?”

“Here,” she said, pointing to an obvious place behind her kneecap. “Ah, makes sense to me,” I said.

And it actually did.

That morning, she had declared it Opposite Day and told her father not to let her read her favorite book and most especially, allow her to play outside.

She then proceeds to tell me about their runaway chicken, Speckles. “Come back, Speckles,” she calls from the window, cupping her hand to her mouth, creating a sort of chicken megaphone.

“Why’d she run away, Gam?” she asks sadly.

I don’t know what to say except something my mother once said to my toddling-around baby brother: “I’m afraid, sir, that you have a bad case of discombobulation.”

“Maybe the chicken just got discombobulated,” I offered.

She shook her head vehemently, but I could tell she was considering it. “Nah, Speckles wouldn’t do stuff like that.”

Later, during our afternoon walk she found a small altar some child had made in a front yard. Pretty shaped stones, tiny seashells, a pintsized carved umbrella, a miniature gnome, all nestled in the bottom of a broken clay pot.

“Hold the shell to your ear,” she says. “Sometimes you can hear the sea and sometimes sea fairies.” 

Dutifully, I put the shell to my ear, listening hard. “I hear it,” I said, “I hear the sea. I’m not sure about the sea fairies.” Then I press the shell to her ear. “Listen,” I ask, “What do you hear?”

She cocks her head, eyes wide. “Gammie, I think I hear a boat, a little boat.”

Ah yes, that reminds me. Traveling is in her future, though not by boat. Her family, all five of them, would be flying to Vienna, Austria to visit the other grandmother. Gone for (gulp) two whole weeks.

I steer us toward home, where once inside, she disappears. Later, I bend to give Lina a kiss goodbye, but she’s immersed in artwork at the kitchen counter. After a few seconds, she looks up, “Wait,” she pleads. “I’m drawing a picture of my family so you won’t forget us.”

As if, I think to myself. As if. ❖