Not my best piece, but better to keep the memory intact electronically than printed up on yellowing A4 paper.
Ethen is already in primary school, still smiling, still a loving child and still thinking it’s a grand old world and growing much too fast for my liking.
I have this little grandson called Ethen. He was born with an earnest look on his face that said he was checking us over and getting a hang on his new surroundings. He wasn’t being judgmental, just curious, as we all are when we’re brand new to a place. After seven weeks of surveillance Ethen approves of his little world; he smiles. And Ethen communicates, including his whole family in the conversation: na da, ma da and giggle giggle; and he bounces when you hold him upright. What a child!
Ethen was born with a shock of black hair and has what we used to call piano fingers, long and fine and supple; an indicator to both his paternal and maternal grandfathers who are very musical themselves that it’s a sign of harmonious things to come. Family and friends sat around the hospital bed checking out the new born. Comparisons abounded: the grandfather’s expression, the mother’s eyes and what long legs for a baby, he’s going to be tall like his daddy. Certain favourable comparisons were made regarding receding hairlines. Everyone was satisfied to find a bit of themselves in Ethen.
Ethen tuned his smile on in his seventh week and he hasn’t stopped since. Actually it’s more of a grin than a smile. And Ethen is not selective about recipients of his benevolence; old people, young people, beautiful people, ugly people; everyone and everything in his line of sight gets a big dose. My theory is that he’s expressing his approval of us and the world around him. Here’s hoping he never has reason to change his mind.
Ethen isn’t the first grandchild. People ask if I’m feeling blasé about it all. I say I’m just as excited this time round. Children are like the poppies I used to bring home each Spring and put in a vase. Every morning one or two buds would slowly open and reveal their colours to me.
It’s exciting now that I have the time and the energy to watch my darling buds slowly opening to reveal their colours. One granddaughter has her daddy’s curly hair and loving personality. She also has a stubborn streak that I can’t trace to anyone, perhaps a throwback somewhere in time. But we can appeal to her reason or if we ask for understanding she shows a kind heart. Her sister is fiercely loyal to all things family and loving. We are watching her heading towards those teenage years faster than you can say watch out, early bloomer on the horizon. I am counting on her strength of character to allow her to pass through that phase unscathed.
Children will do things or say things that seem to come out of left field that (unsurprisingly) can surprise. This is because they are a mix of their maternal and paternal genes. Each child is a combination of his parents and extended family on both sides. Sometimes a long distant memory of your childhood surfaces and allows you to decode what your children or grandchildren are saying.
I love being a grandma, it’s a job that suits me like no other, the only profession where old age is an advantage. I have found my niche. Grandchildren think that wrinkles equate with wisdom and the good thing is that given a good dictionary and the capacity to love unconditionally, there’s not much you can do wrong to disillusion them.
It’s a freeing experience to finally leave the responsibilities behind and have fun anticipating without the discomfort of the pregnancy, the exhausting late nights and the constant worries about what kinder and which school and how to afford them. Nice to know that old age has some perks.
I have this little grandson called Ethen. We used to say Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief. You can be happy and honourable and still be poor, but although hope it’s not going to be the last two, I will still love Ethen and his cousins no matter what they make of themselves.