Tag Archives: grandchildren

mystery

indexIt becomes a day I treasure. My grandchildren are at my house. The weather is wonderful, mild, caressing, sunny, so beautiful it makes me a little crazy. My grandson, 4, is focused on the above-ground fish tank my husband has build. My grandson claims to be cleaning out the tank (a horse trough), but he’s really using the aquariam net to attempt to catch fish. Luckily, they’re too fast. His skullduggery amuses me, but the day is so beautiful, I am so glad to be outside and with these humans in the making, that anything would amuse me.

His sister has a small plastic Minnie Mouse. His sister is 2. Her vocabulary is, like her, small: stop, eat, open, again, Minnie, for Minnie Mouse,  her idol. She loves the fish tank too. It’s suggested by her brother that she drop Minnie into the water, and he will rescue her with the net. Well, the tank is too deep, and he can’t do it. So I do. Wonderful. Hurray. How fun. Minnie is dropped again. Again, a rescue is attempted, and I am called in. I think I have her. But I don’t. This happens twice. Now I reach my arm in (the tank goes almost to my shoulder). No Minnie.

Where can Minnie be? The question of a fish eating her is raised (not by me). My granddaughter considers this, but to her credit doesn’t break under the burden of that possibility. We swirl, we net, my arm goes in again and again. Where can she be? we all ask over and over. I get a big flashlight and shine it in the tank. There are cement blocks stacked to hold plants, and they have holes. I search the holes as best I can. No Minnie.

waterlilyWhen it’s time to go home, my granddaughter is willing to leave without Minnie and without tears. I tell my grandchildren—my grandson has taken charge about the disappearance and is pretty official about it—that my husband will find her for certain. There is a conference, quite serious, quite long, at the car as everyone is strapped in. Assurances are made. I promise I will call on the phone when she’s found.

She has to be there. Yet the mystery of it all…..

waterlilyAll afternoon, I laugh to myself. (I find out later that my grandson tells his father in no uncertain terms that another Minnie will have to be bought if she isn’t located, and that my granddaughter invents a game in which she goes all over the house asking, Where’s Minnie?*)

*She was pushed far back in one of those bricks’ holes.

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in and out of light

It’s late afternoon, and he goes into the bedroom, the little spirit, my youngest grandson not quite three who lights my life right now. Rainbows, he calls out excitedly, and I see that the afternoon sun has sent its prisms through the cut glass set high in the bathroom wall, and colors are here and there on both the bathroom and bedroom floors. I forgot, I tell him. You forgot, he repeats, as he steps into their colors and moves about in happiness. She forgot, he tells the colored light. Nana forgot.

I do forget to walk into my bedroom in the afternoon and see this tiny spectacle of light. I forget to be glad of it. I forget to feel wonder, but my latest angel reminds me. He is moving out of angel stage, into little boy, into maneuvering and understanding this world of ours. But right now, he steps in and out of light.

I do the same, inside. Do you?

 

follow me

 Secret place of the most high….words from the poetry that is often the language of the King James Bible….

I found one when I went out walking with my youngest grandson on a recent Houston spring night. Lovely, soft weather, a just past half-full moon visible in the not quite twilight sky. He alert and ready in his stroller. Shall we look for acorns (one of our pasttimes)? I ask him, and he says his soft ok that makes me smile. (He’s a few months over 2 years on the calendar but so much wiser. He’s my guide for accessing the lost child in me.) But there are no acorns.

Now we walk with him out of the stroller. He’s good about holding on to the stroller when we cross the streets. For a while, he holds on even when he doesn’t have to, and this small act of obedience always touches me. I always urge him to let go, tell him he doesn’t have to hold on when we’re not crossing the street. There’s something in me moved by his obedience but wanting him to spread his little wings.

We pass a fire hydrant, and I tell him that’s where the firetrucks get water. His father has purchased a firetruck video, and this grandson, as did my older grandson, will sit riveted to watch it from beginning to end.  He talks to the hydrant and touches small chains attached to it. I realize he is creating a huge story in his mind, that in his mind actual trucks are coming to the hydrant or something like that. After a time, I get impatient, tell him to come on, walk a distance away. He stays by the hydrant, talking, talking and playing with the chains. When I give up and walk back, he says, stay, Nana, and I obey.

I teach a class about the novel, about writing. You can’t teach writing, but you can facilitate it, and you can offer some obvious ingredients needed to make a story. I know that the students want a recipe, fixed and easy for fiction, and there isn’t one. You have to have the imagination of this small boy, who is making up and acting out some amazing story in his mind inspired by a fire hydrant.

I wait at the edge of night, the moon rising higher, for his story to end. When it does, he’s tired, ready to be tucked into the stroller. Where’s the moon? he asks me. There, I answer and show him.  Moon follow me, he says.

May it always, I think, and send grandmother blessings his way and think about how lucky I am as we walk home in the enfolding dark…..I’ve been in the secret place of the most high, and it was beautiful…..

What’s your secret place? What are your treasures?

9/11 sunday


To continue my poet Mary Oliver* theme: which is my work which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished….I forget how to do this simple task but Youngest- Grandson-not-quite-two reteaches me…..astonished each time he visits at the goldfish in the pond, wanting to feed them, wanting to smell the fish food over and over, never tiring of either, wanting to put leaf hats on the little fat stone buddha’s head, saying hat each time, waiting for the carpenter bees, saying bee loudly when we see one, wanting me to sing yet again, be my little baby bumble bee, calling mosquitoes bees and laughing like mad when I correct him and say, mosquito, mosquito…..it’s the same thing each and every time…..my simple treasures are a miracle to him, and I am reminded anew–as the significance of this anniversary day points out–what treasures I possess**…..

Another treasure: the garden muse allowed a prose/poem to burble up. It had been so long I’d forgotten I did this…..had an attack of inspiration. Here it is:  A small kamakasi hurtles toward me, wings fluttering in rapid beats. No rising sun on the side, this small missile is nonetheless intent, zooming toward the next feeder…..

Details: I saw my first hummingbird (I’m trying to lure them with feeders) on Tuesday and almost didn’t recognize what it was until it was a foot away. Two days later, I’m seating at an Archway Gallery reading, listening, and there the words are. I scribble them on the paper listing the readers.

So….what’s inspired you lately?

*Hit this to hear Mary Oliver read…..**Hit above on words treasures I possess to hear treasure……

bubbles

There’s a beveled glass window set high in the wall of the master bathroom. In the afternoons, the sun shines through it to make prisms of light on the tile floor. When my first grandson was very small, he saw them one day and exclaimed, “Rainbows!”  His seeing them, his excitement, touched me. And then he became older, as did I, and we forgot about them.

Now my second grandson, not 2 yet, has seen them. “Bubbles,” he cried yesterday in a voice of wonder. He walked among them, putting his feet in each and every one, looking at me and smiling. I see them every day and never think to exclaim at their beauty. I don’t notice them. I don’t put my feet in them in delight–which is the wonderful thing about being around young children: their wonder at the world. It reminds me of the mantra I want to age by: make me sweet again, fragrant and fresh and wild and grateful for any small event……like my youngest grandson….

Another note: Headed west today to teach a writing class in Alpine, Texas . Passed through a lot of big country, little civilization, country that reminds you you are not the center of the universe, that you’d better work with the universe to survive. Neil Young sang as I drove….This old guitar is only mine for awhile…..

m-m-m and god

Sometime this week, I  hope to hold my second Ladybug Festival. Last year’s festival was a huge success. I dragged it around in my heart for days. Here’s what happens: I buy a package of ladybugs, some 1, 500, so the advertising claims. And then I and my two oldest grandchildren release them. It’s quite a process, as ladybugs fall out in clumps and immediately land on you as well as the nearest plant. They need a moment to take in their surroundings; then they’re off in a flutter of hilariously small wings. Since they look like tiny Volkswagen Beetles, it’s funny when the two small wings unsheath, and they’re gone. My grandchildren and I were in hilarity and wonder over it last year, and I carried a sense of miracle for days. The ladybugs landed on our arms, our hair, our legs, but then they were off, like small blessings searching for homes. So, I want to do it again this year. The package of ladybugs is bought. I need only grandchildren.

Sighting: someone in the Heights has fat clay pots filled with white petunias, fern and trailing alyssum. It stopped me in my tracks, and I had to take a picture.

M-m-m: Youngest Grandson, 15 months, walked by blooming, climbing roses at his house this last week and stopped in his tracks and said, M-m-m, his sound for food he really, really likes. His nose liked this, and he had to smell rose after rose, saying M-m-m every time. Who says there is no God?

troubadour’s song

Walking my not-yet-walking-year-old grandson (you know….you hold his hands and he staggers in front of you) in falling dusk as neighbors’ Christmas lights gleam and he gurgles and talks sing-song in genuine pleasure….so pleased with himself and the world….

Watching paperwhites stalks lurch up greenly….so greenly….(a little gin to the water helps)….seeing the fat bulge of the blossom hidden as yet by the green….knowing the white unfurling to come….

Talking with my nephew (his mother, my sister, dead 10 years)….he says, I love you, Aunt Karleen….and as I say I love you back, such a catch in my throat….it’s as if my sister’s spirit sits on my shoulder and in my heart…she’s with me for a moment, again….it happens too rarely, now…

Reading a hilarious note to Santa from my granddaughter….a note which asks him to sign where she has drawn a line to prove (prove being spelled proove) he’s real…..

Finding Christmas cards I like….lots of red in the illustration this year….loving the red, the art of the artist who drew the illustration….loving that this year there is time to do this ritual….wondering if in 10 years there will even be paper cards to buy….thinking it all moves on and on…..

Stepping back as my daughter and daughter-in-law begin to take Christmas into their own hands….where I am the guest to their doings….feeling odd and old but liking their fledgling maneuvers…. thinking, it all moves on and on and on….

What was your song this season?