Saturday, July 23, 2011

She Wears Her Love Like Heaven

Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished. ~ Mary Oliver

Allow me to spend a few minutes telling you about the youngest baby in our family, Ava. She’s 17 months old with very blond wispy hair not long enough to make ponies or use barrettes yet. Big dark blue eyes and a giggle like a stream of pure water in a bubbling brook, Ava puts her head back and laughs so you can see her latest molars.

She’s been on her feet since a few days before her birthday, then began running full speed. Her latest trick, while her big sister Rebecca does her version of River Dance, is to dance on her tip toes. Who knew a baby could be so clever?

When I come to the door she bangs the top of her head three times with her hand, points outside, and runs for the refrigerator. That is shorthand for, my sister is home, let’s play outside, and can we bring a Popsicle with us? As I said, Ava is very advanced. My daughter was teaching her baby sign language, but she has made up some of her own that we all understand.

There is a circular space through the kitchen, dining area, and living room where a child can run in circles for hours without hitting her head. When I come over, Ava will get her sister to run with her, she stops short in front of me so I can say, “Boo, “ which makes her scream, bend over at the waist to laugh, wriggle with delight, then run some more.

Before I had grandchildren I didn’t realize how much kids love routine, how they crave the same games, but they definitely do. When I stay for dinner, I get the pleasure of giving both the girls a bath. Sadly, my darling Rebecca is done with singing games and powder, but Ava still thinks Baby Magic lotion and Johnson’s Baby Powder are the most spectacular things. Lotion on hands, backs, baby bottoms, arms, cheeks, and powder everywhere spread around by little hands, and then topped with baby footie pajamas. She smells like heaven when I kiss her sweet cheeks and nuzzle her neck. I go home covered with powder and lotion, also, so much so I can’t stop at the store on the way home because I’m such a mess.

I still call her Baby. She’s probably my last grandchild so I keep my nose buried a little longer into her neck to kiss her, holding her a little tighter next to my heart, watching her a little longer , and savoring her sweetness while closing my eyes to remember her at just this very moment. Then I release her knowing she's off to her business of growing up. Which, of course, is how is should be.