Monday, March 12, 2018
Today I am grateful for unforgettable moments. Because I’ve been actually “living” life instead of just writing about it, I’ve been a little out of touch. That means the stories are backing up in my brain and ready to explode like the backfire of an old Buick. It was hard to pick where to start.
But that’s a lie, too. It wasn’t hard to pick at all. What was hard was listening to what I wanted to write about even though I’m going to be a pain-in-the-ass grandma by my own choice. I’ll catch you up on other things when this is out of my system.
My son brought his not-yet-two-year-old daughter over on Saturday for a nice long visit. What a treat. This is the kid who LOVES grandpa but has been a little hesitant about me from time to time, so I tread carefully and slowly.
I wasn’t home when they got here and when I walked in the door I heard her say, “Anja?” her big sister. “Nope, just grandma,” I said. Her face drooped a little, then lit up anyway, even though I wasn’t who she expected. She’s not a very cranky child anyway, but on Saturday she was in a very, very good mood. Why not? With toys and books carpeting the living room floor, she already had grandpa doing her bidding.
“Maybe today is the day I should take her in the basement for her to do her first painting,” I said. My son agreed that the timing seemed right, so off we all went, into the dungeon of Himself, which is a virtual toy box of distractions for someone under two. . .and over 80!
We let her horse around with grandpa as he showed her marionettes, magic and dragons, while I set up an easel for her, got the paints ready and put on my smock. Her dad peeled her shirt off and put her in an old, too-big top that was still here from when her sister was young, as her smock. She crawled on the chair and waited. Patiently. Her eyes were like saucers as I squirted yellow, blue, orange and green onto a disposable pallet from tubes of acrylic paint.
Handing her a big brush and keeping one for myself I showed her once how to dab the paint and put it on the canvass. She did it. Over and over. Calling out a color or saying “more blue” as she created her masterpiece. If I showed her a fast upward stroke, she did it. If I dabbed, she did it. She never fussed, cried, whined or squirmed around.
She was having a blast. . .and so were the rest of us. . .after the first painting, so I hauled out another canvass and she went at it some more, leaning her little head to the left, or right to get a different look, a new angle, then stroking the brush, thick with paint, like Van Gogh.
“Bumpa,” she called to Himself when after an hour of watching her, he had the nerve to go work on something in his area across the basement. “Bumpa!” He came running like a well- trained puppy, which is pretty much the same thing as a grandpa. At least this grandpa.
It wasn’t until someone on Facebook mentioned that I must have a lot of patience that I realized it didn’t take any patience. Why, I wondered? Was it because she was a joy and absorbed the experience like a sponge in a full bucket? Was it because her dad wasn’t concerned about her getting paint on herself, or even him when she turned fast wielding that brush? Was it because I did not have any expectation of what her painting would be, but rather encouraged her to just paint?
Yes. All of the above. It was a Bermuda Triangle of perfection, with all elements in order like the stars of a constellation in the night sky. There is no WRONG way because it was only HER way. As adults so often we automatically edit, censor, critique ourselves every step of the way. But if you let a child go. . .just go. . .they will show us what true joy is. We could take a lesson from this. At least I sure could.
What fun. I am grateful for one of the most unforgettable moments in my life. There! Now I can write about other things, but today it had to be this! BING! Heartprint!