Monday, January 18, 2010

The Innocent Dignity of a Child's Heart

     Rebecca is the daughter of my daughter. I was there the moment she was born and I felt like I knew her immediately. When she first began to speak, she called me "Bama," then "Dama", and finally, Grandma. She was my very first grandchild.

     For her fourth Christmas, I ordered her a Pepto Bismal pink Boogie Board so we could use it together in the ocean when we go to Southern California. Rebecca is a Scorpio girl and adores the water, particularly the ocean. Even when she was tiny, just crawling, she would scoot crab-like towards the water until my daughter gathered her into her arms.
     She has long blond hair with curls. When it's just been washed, her hair sprouts tiny tendrils that frame  her face making her resemble a portrail painting of a 18th century European child. Her eyes are bright blue, her lips a little pink bow. She's a lefty and very bright and imaginative. My God, how the child loves to dress up in crowns, boas, and plastic high heels.
      Last summer she became tall enough to stand in the shallow end of a pool. With the delicacy of an advanced ballerina, she would hold the side of the pool with one hand while balancing herself to make ballet movements with her left arm. While she tiptoed through the water, Rebecca sang a song about a "Rose Fairy Rosemary Tooth Fairy" in a  high thin voice.
     She's a wonder to me. Rebecca is a sometimes a full blown extrovert who enters the library like she's Eloise at the Plaza, dancing and twirling, yelling greetings to  the librarians.She can be full of confidence, then minutes later slumped over in dance class, chewing on the skin of her right thumb looking worried and anxious.
    Rebecca is also extremely literal. I stopped by to see her recently when she had a cold. When I was leaving her, I bent over her, smoothed her forehead, kissed it and said, "You take good care of yourself, sweetheart.!" She looked at me like I was nuts. "I am TOO LITTLE to take care of myself. My Mama and Daddy take care of me."  I could see how shocked she was. "Oh", I said, "Right. What was I thinking?"

     She interpets her world though a combination of steely-eyed realism ("There are no such things as angels, Grandma") and a pure hearted innocence. When she learned she was going to have a new cousin, she marched outside, peered up into the vast universe, then began to recite the old poem, " Wish I may, wish I might, first star I see tonight. Let the baby be a GIRL.!"  At that moment, I knew it would happen.

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