Happy Birthday to MEEEEE!

Today blog is my not-so-humble brag about the original Angel Boy. I am so very proud of him.

I talk an awful lot about the second boy who stole my heart, AB 2.0, my curly haired free spirit/sprite, but there is still the one who owns MOST of my heart, his daddy…

fullsizeoutput_db0…WHO WROTE A BOOK THAT GOT PUBLISHED!!!

Here’s the deets:

Title: THE GEOLOGICAL UNCONSCIOUS
GERMAN LITERATURE AND THE MINERAL IMAGINARY

https://www.fordhampress.com/9780823288113/the-geological-unconscious/

From the author…

“Already in the nineteenth century, German-language writers were contending with the challenge of imagining and accounting for a planet whose volatility bore little resemblance to the images of the Earth then in circulation. The Geological Unconscious traces the withdrawal of the lithosphere as a reliable setting, unobtrusive backdrop, and stable point of reference for literature written well before the current climate breakdown.”

“Through a series of careful readings of romantic, realist, and modernist works by Tieck, Goethe, Stifter, Benjamin, and Brecht, Groves elaborates a geological unconscious—unthought and sometimes actively repressed geological knowledge—in European literature and environmental thought. This inhuman horizon of reading and interpretation offers a new literary history of the Anthropocene in a period before it was named.”

“These close readings show the entanglement of the human and the lithic in periods well before the geological turn of contemporary cultural studies. In those depictions of human-mineral encounters, the minerality of the human and the minerality of the imagination become apparent. In registering libidinal investments in the lithosphere that extend beyond Carboniferous deposits and beyond any carbon imaginary, The Geological Unconscious points toward alternative relations with, and less destructive mobilizations of, the geologic.”

It might take me as long to read it as it took him to write it ‘cos it’s definitely going to stretch all of my working brain cells which are more used to reading chicklit by Jennifer Weiner or Sophie Kinsella, but it’s IMPORTANT to read things that are outside our comfort zone. WAY OUT.

This is the kind of book you need to read with a dictionary and Thesaurus very close by.

Sample page 121:

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Editorial Reviews:

“An impressive and accomplished study that delves deep into the layers of German mineralogical imagination from Goethe to Benjamin. Stones may not be able to speak, but they have found their spokesman. A pleasure to read.” (Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, University of British Columbia)

The Geological Unconscious offers subtle close readings of several canonical texts that receive provocative illumination from ecocriticism. The book’s focus on the instability of ground is insightfully paired with a consideration of how already in the nineteenth century literary style and narrative register geological time and planetary wounding.” (Catriona MacLeod, University of Chicago)

The author, Dr. Jason Groves, is Assistant Professor of Germanics at the University of Washington. He is cotranslator of Werner Hamacher’s Minima Philologica.

 

Moon Glow

I forgot how much I love to take pics; the May Flower Moon was the perfect time to get out my good camera. I don’t have the most expensive lens, but it’s still beyond cool how much detail can be seen 239,000 miles away.

Thanks to Angel Boy 2.0, I guess I’m an avid planet watcher now. He’s fascinated by astronauts and the sky. We often take him to the science center; he has a dozen books about the planets and the moon walk, and can recite all of the nine planets.

On those rare days when the sun and the moon are visible at the same time, it’s a treat to see how excited he gets. “Both of them, Grandma, at the SAME TIME!”

These pics were snapped with a Canon Rebel T3i; no tripod.

I thought the power lines added an artistic touch. The color was amazing; no filter or editing.

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The boy who is my heart

Update Mother’s Day 2020: I wrote this post about my son lightyears prior to Angel Boy 2.0. because without him, I wouldn’t be a mommy at all.

Since the birth of his baby sister, AB 2.0 and I repeat this conversation pretty much every single time we speak or we’re together. (A little needed reassurance about his place in the world.)

“Who’s my very favorite boy?”

“I am, Grandma!”

And who’s my second favorite boy?”

“DADDY IS. DADDY IS!”

“You’re right! Now…who’s my favorite GIRL?”

“CharChar is, right, Grandma?”

“You got it, T. And then who’s my second favorite girl?”

“MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY!”

Just keeping it straight for the second little boy who is my heart.

(P.S. My poem was published in Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream Volume 34 #4)

 

The Yellow Steamroller

So much depends
upon

a yellow
steamroller

buried
in the dirt
 
behind the shed
On one bitterly cold wintry afternoon, I embarked on a major yard cleanup project. I raked all the pine needles shaken loose during the fury of Alaska-borne winds that roared down the coast to Southern California.
Metal rake clanged against metal.
Then I saw it, a bright yellow igniting the dirt and pine needles, suffused with a gleaming radiance through the brown. 
steamroller1
I threw down the rake, crouched on all fours, and with bare fingers dug through the wet fecund soil to uncover an abandoned yellow Matchbox toy from the spot where there once was a sandbox that my son’s dad  built for him when we first moved to this house in 1985.
I discovered in situ a three-inch wide artifact imbued with all the wonder of my perfect four-year-old child, the same age that my grandson is right now, thirty-five years later.
I gently brushed away decades of encrusted soil and sand.
steamroller2
sandbox
I was engulfed in wave after wave of memory.
I was there. Really there. 1985. 
I saw him–my precious four-year-old son in this beautiful huge sandbox filled with fresh, clean sand.  
I watched him as I often watched him from the bay window in the kitchen overlooking the backyard where I would wash dishes and keep an eye on him, keeping him safe–always keeping him safe–as he played in the sand with his dump trucks and cherry pickers and this steam roller and his buckets and plastic cups and forks and sticks with his cats and dog always near, and the loveliness of the memory set me on my heels and I cried.
Happy tears for the exquisite soft rosy glow of healthy well-fed cheeks, the deep Imperial jade green eyes, the curls that were my curls, my boy, my angel love.
The boy whose every breath contains a whisper of the intangible all encompassing LOVE I possess for this being who was a part of me before he was a part of the earth and sun and sky and sand.
The boy who is — and always will be — my heart.
I shut my eyes tight to keep the pictures from disappearing, but the ephemeral/evanescent impressions floated away with the tears that spilled out for the remembering of the beauty of a luminous child playing in a sandbox, singing to himself and constructing sand sculptures of the future, or, in his case, building words and spinning thoughts and erratica.
Those grains of sand that between his fingers mashed and smashed into forts and tunnels were the detritus of the granite from whence his brain reformed them grain by grain into skyscrapers of words and sentences that flow like a path from the back door to the sandbox.

And what eventually happened to the steamroller? It’s still here in the garden, living a new life helping another curly haired, green eyed little boy weave his own stories…

In a way, a sort of homage to…
The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.

“I swear, Grandma!” More chat with the world’s most brilliant human

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Four going on thirteen. That’s Angel Boy 2.0.

I have no idea where he gets that precocious attitude. Well, yes I do, but that’s another story.

Since the pandemic has eliminated all of our in-person visits, T-boy and I have been chatting on the phone a lot, sometimes several times a day.

If he sees my favorite breed of dog walk by his house, he likes to call me and say, “Grandma, I just saw a Border Collie, you love Border Collies, don’t you?”

Or he’ll call and flip the camera around to show me his weather, “It’s supposed to rain today but right now there’s some blue sky and clouds.” “What’s your weather like today at your house, Grandma?”

He likes to call me after dinner when Mom is giving baby a bath and putting her to bed and before his bath and bed routine. Dad is usually working in the garden and I’ll get a call.

“Hello, my special friend! How was your day? ”

“GOOOD. I’m outside with Daddy. You know what, Grandma? I had to call you. I swear. Daddy went on a skateboard and didn’t wear his helmet again. I swear. I told Daddy you want him to wear his helmet but he doesn’t. He wears it on his bicycle but not when he’s skating with me. I wear my helmet, Grandma.”

“Thank you for telling me about Daddy. And I’m so proud of you for making good choices and wearing YOUR helmet. Well done!”

“Thank you.”

“Let me talk to Daddy, OK?”

“OK, Grandma.”

And then I hear…

“Dad? Daddy? Jay? Jas? JASON NATHANIEL!! Grandma wants to talk with you. I told her about the helmet situation.”

It cracks me up every single time I hear T call his daddy by his other names using the same exact inflection that he’s heard. Pretty adorable.

“Oh you did, huh? Hello, Grandma.” Says the original boy who stole my heart so many years ago.

“DADDY, I was just informed that you are still not wearing your helmet when you skate with T. You do not need to be told about traumatic brain injuries, you know all about that. Who will take care of your babies when you are incapacitated?”

“Geez, he’s a tattletale haha. I wear it sometimes.”

“Dad, did you hear what Grandma said?”

“Hey, T, I have an idea. Tell Daddy that I won’t allow him to go surfing the next time you guys come to visit if he doesn’t make good choices and wear his helmet.”

I hear him yelling at the top of his lungs, “DAD! GRANDMA SAID YOU CAN’T GO SURFING IF YOU DON’T WEAR YOUR HELMET!”

Then I hear Dad, “OK, tell Grandma I will.”

“Grandma, did you hear that? Daddy said he would wear his helmet.”

“Awesome job, T. We love Daddy and we want him to be safe just like we want you to be safe, right?”

“Right, Grandma. Hey, look at me jump! Grandma, I can jump so high! Grandma, did you send me a box of presents? Did you send The Borrowers Aloft?”

“I did, you’ll get the box in a couple of days.”

“DAD!!! JAY!!! I swear, I told you Grandma sent the second Borrower’s book! I knew she did. I told you not to buy it, I remember Grandma said she was going to send it.”

“OK Grandma, I’m going to go now. I’m going to have a bath. High five, Grandma.”

He likes to “high five” the phone.

“Bye, T. I love you.”

“Bye Grandma, love you, too. I’m going to hit the red button now.”

And he’s gone.

 

 

 

My experience as the virtual grandma at Passover dinner during a pandemic

Wednesday marked the first night of Passover 2020.

Although my grandfather was a rabbi and we used to observe most of the Jewish religious dates, it was much more for the fun than any strict adherence to dogma.

Hanukkah was the fave cos of all the prezzies of course, and Sukkot is cool cos it was a gathering of the harvest, and Passover/Pesach was chock full of symbolism and the time for the youngest member of the family (usually me) to have center stage reciting the Four Questions to explain what Passover is all about. (see below)

How is this night different from all other nights? This is one year none of us will ever forget.

Growing up, my son wasn’t too interested in anything Jewish, probably because we don’t live in a Jewish community and the lure of beach and ocean and skateboarding was more important, so I didn’t really push religion on him because in all honesty, I don’t really care.

For me, seeing a butterfly or growing and eating our own fruit and veggies is equally as spiritual or more so than being forced to sit in a smelly synagogue and recite endless words.

However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my son and DIL’s interest in dipping their toes (along with Angel Boy 2.0’s) into the ritual and symbolism of certain Jewish holidays.

For instance, last night we all gathered together to celebrate Passover dinner. Since they are physically located in the Pacific Northwest and I’m here in SoCal and we obviously can’t be together right now because of the pandemic restrictions, I was able to be included via FaceTime, which was actually pretty awesome. I think the original Charlotte would approve.

Keepin’ it real, they set a place for Elijah, upon which my grandson placed a very realistic looking furry fake rat. Yup, he’s his daddy’s boy for sure. He had grape juice instead of wine, and if the way he drank it and kept refilling his glass is any indication of future behavior, well, ’nuff said.

I still have the Four Questions memorized, tucked away somewhere up in my gray matter, so I helped with the pronunciation, while my son read the story of Passover and they followed the rules of eating the symbolic foods on the Sedar Plate.

Angel Boy 2.0 ran off to find the afikomen (a piece broken off from a matzo during a Seder and put aside to be eaten at the end of the meal. (It’s traditionally hidden during the Seder to be searched for by the children.)  There’s a really funny Curb Your Enthusiasm episode about a Passover dinner, not sure what season, but it’s on Amazon Prime.

It ended with latkes and matzo ball soup (for them) and tofu for me. There’s always a silver lining and always a rainbow after a storm, if you keep your eyes open.

Here’s some info about Passover:
The story about the origin of Passover is also the story of the life of Moses. For a time, the Israelites lived in peace and prosperity amongst the Egyptians until a new Pharaoh saw them as a threat to his power. He enslaved them and ordered all their sons to be killed at birth to prevent a new leader from arising.

According to the story, one mother was able to conceal the birth of her son, Moses. When she could no longer hide him, she hid him amongst the bulrushes. The Pharaoh’s daughter noticed the baby and decided to adopt him. She sent Moses’ sister to find an Israelite woman to nurse him, so he was reunited with his mother. When Moses was older, he moved into the palace where the Pharaoh’s daughter raised him as her own son.

As a young man, Moses noticed the suffering of the Israelites and his actions in retaliation forced him to leave Egypt to become a shepherd. God appeared to Moses one day in the form of a burning bush and commanded him to return to Egypt to lead his people into freedom with the help of his brother Aaron. Although Moses and Aaron repeatedly begged the Pharaoh to free the children of Israel, they were not successful. As punishment, God inflicted 10 plagues on the Egyptians. After the 10th plague, in which all first-born children of the Egyptians died, the Pharaoh agreed to free all Israelites and to allow them to leave Egypt with their possessions. As they had to leave in a hurry, they did not have time to allow bread to rise, so they baked unleavened bread, known as matzoh (plural matzah), for the journey.

Many aspects of Passover have a symbolic meaning. Cleaning the house to remove chametz, using a candle, a feather, a wooden spoon, and a paper bag, symbolizes the removal of egotism and spiritual coarseness from life. The matzoh represents the haste in which the Israelites left Egypt, and the red wine or grape juice represents the blood of sacrifices and male circumcision. Special kitchen utensils and the Seder Plates are used in the special Passover meals.

The Seder Plate consists of 3 matzoh piled on top of each other on a plate or clean cloth, which are then covered with another plate or cloth. Next, small pieces of symbolic foods are then placed on top. The foods are: zeroa , a roasted shank bone or chicken neck; beitzah, a hard boiled egg; maror, freshly grated horseradish or the stalks of romaine lettuce; charoset, a mixture of chopped apples, nuts, and wine; karpas, a non-bitter vegetable, such as an onion or a boiled potato; and chazeret, more horseradish or romaine lettuce. A dish of salt water and wine accompanies the Seder Plate. Each item on the plate represent a different aspect of the Passover story and they are eaten in a particular order and in specific combinations during the ceremonial meal. From https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/jewish/first-day-of-passover

The Four Questions:

?מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת
Ma nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleilot?
Why is this night different from all other nights?

1st Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה – כֻּלּוֹ מַצָּה
Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin hametz umatzah; halailah hazeh, kuloh matzah.
On all other nights we eat leavened products and matzah, and on this night only matzah.

2nd Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה (כֻּלּוֹ) מָרוֹר
Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin sh’ar y’rakot; halailah hazeh, maror.
On all other nights we eat all vegetables, and on this night only bitter herbs.

3rd Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים
Shebkhol haleilot ein anu matbilin afilu pa’am ehat; halailah hazeh, shtei f’amim.
On all other nights, we don’t dip our food even once, and on this night we dip twice.

4th Question:

.שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין – הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּנוּ מְסֻבִּין
Shebchol haleilot anu okhlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin; halailah hazeh, kulanu m’subin.
On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining, and on this night we only recline.

https://www.kveller.com/article/the-four-questions/

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Book Review: “The New Baby Blueprint”

 

The New Baby Blueprint

“The New Baby Blueprint”
Caring for You and Your Little Ones

By Whitney Casares, MD, MPH, FAAP


This was supposed to be a team review with my daughter-in-law who’s not only the mom of my two angelic grandchildren, but is the proud recipient of a PhD in Neuroscience.

She and my son and the little ones were supposed to be here for a nice long visit, but Covid-19 has kept them home and us apart, so I’m doing this review solo.

No matter what’s going on in the world, new parents need help navigating the early days and weeks with a new baby. The New Baby Blueprint gives them the information, resources, and tools they need to make early parenthood not just tolerable, but successful!

A Stanford-trainied pediatrician, Dr. Cesares offers important tools about how to win at parenting without losing oneself in the process. Her advice combines important health and safety information from the American Academy of Pediatrics with honest insights from her own parenting experiences.

From her blog https://modernmommydoc.com:

Dr. Cesares “is a pediatrician and a mom to two young girls in Portland, Oregon. Every day, she tries to balance taking care of work, her kids and herself, laughing at the craziness of the early years with young ones.”

With topics ranging from Preparing Your Mind to Finding a Pediatrician, Taking Care of You and Your Partner,  to Setting Yourself up for Breastfeeding Success,  this is a must-read for moms, dads, AND grandparents.

 

More chat with my brilliant human…”You love coyote poo, don’t you, Grandma?”

“You love coyote poo, don’t you, Grandma?”

Those words warm every part of my heart.

“Yes, I do, Angel Boy! I love it so much when I see coyote poo on a hiking trail. It makes me very happy. Sometimes animal poo is called scat [spelling it for him], S-C-A-T.”

“I love coyotes too, Grandma. I’m just like you.”

“You love love planting in the garden, don’t you, Grandma?”

“I do very much, you’re right!”

“I love to garden too, I help Daddy in our garden at home.”

“I know you do, buddy. You’re a big helper.”

“You love your bunny slippers, don’t you, Grandma?”

“Yes, they are my 100% favorites.”

“I love them, too, Grandma. See, I’m wearing your bunnies! My feet are as big as yours.”

“We are a lot alike, aren’t we? We like many of the same things and that is so cool.”

“Do you love Spiderman, Grandma?”

“Well, I can say that I LIKE him, but I don’t really love him.”

Jumping up and down while showing me his new Spiderman…”I do, I do, I do. I love love love Spiderman.”

“Sometimes we can like different things and that’s OK, too, because you are your own person and so am I, right, T-man?”

“I can’t wait to see you, Grandma.”

“See, now we’re exactly the same. I can’t wait to see you, too!”

“Can I push the red button now, Daddy?”

And then, just like that, he’s gone.

Our light, bright vision of magic.

Brilliant nonstop chat and research with the most interesting human on planet Earth

Every day starts at around 5:45 a.m. It’s nonstop talking unless he’s eating or sleeping.

“Grandma?” Which really sounds more like “Grand-maw” if you’re sounding it out.

“I’m hungry. Let’s go in the kitchen and I’ll sit on the big stool and watch you make my breakfast.”

Grandma? Why is it still dark out? Why do you love seashells so much? Can I have this rock? Why do you cut up my apple like that? Why do you make me oatmeal? Why is the stove hot? I burned myself one time and Mommy put ice on it. Why do you put cinnamon in it? I wish I was in a rocket ship and could fly off to space.I didn’t wet my bed last night. I’m wearing my Batman undies. Look, Grandma, look at me. Why do you love me so much? I’m your first little boy, Daddy is your second little boy. Right, Grandma? Right? Grandma, are you making coffee now? Why do you do that? That’s the same kind of coffee you get at MY house. We have a Trader Joe’s there, too. Is this safe, Grandma? (As he jumps from the chair to the sofa, and back.)

“Be ever so careful, my favorite boy!”

Silence as he’s eating his breakfast. But not for long…

“I’m really smart, ammnt I, Grandma?”

“Grandma?”

“Yes, T?”
“Is that a TV screen? I only get to watch it for special. When do you watch it, Grandma? Why are you so small, Grandma? Daddy’s big and you’re small. You’re my little Grandma. I’m going to be bigger than my Daddy soon. Like when I’m six or twelve. I will, I really will. I’m not kidding. For reals. My Dad is SO strong, right, Grandma? Why did your little boy grow up, Grandma?

That one got me.
“Hmmm”, I said.
“I think about that too, T. Sometimes I wish Daddy was still a little boy and then I think that he grew up so he could have a little boy like you and make me so happy. What do you think?”

“I think….I think that I want a breakfast burrito now. I’m still hungry.”

Yup, he’s his Daddy’s little boy, that’s for sure. No doubt about it.

The questions have been coming fast and furious as soon as he turned three.

It started with ” where do sloths live?” and I said, “Let’s go to the library tomorrow and do some research.”

The next day we went to the library and checked out a few book about sloths.

After that it was “let’s do research” about everything that had been cooking in his brilliant little mind.

“I love the solar system, my favorite planet is Neptune, I love Neptune because it has rings. We live on planet Earth. I want to know about astronauts.”

Another trip to the library; more books. When he learned that astronauts wear diapers in space, he had to repeat that fact at least a hundred times.

“What happened to dinosaurs?” “Why aren’t there dinosaurs anymore? Why are they only in museums? Why are they just skeletons now?”

“What’s lightening?”
“How does electricity work?”
“How does a volcano erupt?”
“How do bees make honey?”

That question couldn’t be answered very easily with a book, so we did something really special: computer research. We found a video that explained it in a way a toddler could understand. I have to admit that I didn’t know exactly how bees made honey and what we learned made me appreciate the importance of bees even more than I did before. For example, did you know that forager bees have two stomachs, one just to capture the pollen that will eventually turn into honey? Or that some of the jobs that other bees in the colony have is to vomit the contents of their stomach into a succession of about twenty other bees’ stomachs so that certain chemical changes can take place? Or that all the bees work together to flap their wings and evaporate the liquid when first placed in the comb and that when the liquid becomes thickened—well, that’s the end product—honey. In order to produce just one pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey. One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year. An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. I’m THIS MANY YEARS old and never knew all of that. It took a brilliant 3.5 year old child to teach me!

Finally, my very observant little grandson said this…
“Why don’t you eat meat, Grandma?”
When I gave him a simple answer about how I love animals and don’t like to eat them, he said he didn’t like to eat animals either. His mom told me that later that afternoon, he asked her why Grandma doesn’t like to eat animals.

I’m so grateful to be able to generate a thought process like that. We are in desperate need of his generation to make the world a better place. Kinder, more compassionate. More empathy for all living creatures with whom we co-exist on this planet and learn to become better stewards of our oceans and the air we all breathe.

He’s so adorably exuberantly awkward in his joie de vivre. But me? I’m beyond exhausted with so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Inside camping nap because it’s so rainy today.

The last time…(More heartstopping chat with a mini-human)

I haven’t written in a while because it took me such a long time to recover from a whirlwind visit with my Angel Boy 2.0 as well as being presented to the Court of ANGEL GIRL 2.0, Baby Charlotte, named in honor of my mom.

The very definition of “hell on wheels.”

Below you’ll find a a fairly accurate transcript of my final day…If this was paper and not a computer screen, it’d be blurry with tear-stained ink. My tears. Heart wrenching love.

6:00 a.m. I hear swift and stompy footsteps running downstairs and soon my bedroom door opens, “Wake up, little Grandma!”

He climbs under the covers and snuggles close.

“How did you sleep, my little Theo?”

I’m not little Theo, you’re little Grandma.”

OK, how did you sleep, medium Theo?

“Goooood.”

“Did you have any dreams?

I can’t even begin to tell you the details of the storyline of the dream he recounted, because the twists and turns of his brilliant little mind involved Saturn (his fave planet), a dragon, a dinosaur, a spooky ghost, rocket ships to space, and a boat in the sky.

“What do you want for breakfast, T?”

“Last oatmeal, Grandma.”

“WHAT? What did you say?”

“This is the last time you’ll make oatmeal for me”, he said with a sad sad voice.

“Oh T, break my heart why don’t you?”

“It’s not the last time I’ll make oatmeal for you; there will alwaysalwaysalways be a next time. This is the last time for NOW. OK?

Then he was on a roll…all day long…

“Last cuddle, Grandma.”

“Last playing with Magna Tiles.”

“Last breakfast burrito.”

Calling out to dad who was still asleep upstairs, “DAD, COME DOWN FOR LAST BREAKFAST BURRITOS!”

“Last walk in the neighborhood.”

“Last bicycle ride to the school playground.”

“Last time you’ll get me dressed in the morning.”

“Last time you’ll read me a book.”

“UNTIL NEXT TIME, Theo! Not the last time forever, my angel!”

“Last time you’ll tel me to wash my hands after going to the bathroom”.

One of our running jokes is to look up as a jet flies overhead and say, “You missed your flight, Grandma! You’ll have to stay longer!”

Or I’ll look up and say, “Oh my goodness, T-man, we didn’t get to the airport in time, there goes my airplane, now what will we do??”

On our way to the airport for real, we sing songs and play funny word games.

“Grandma, I’m coming to your house for 59 days. I’m flying home with you. Not in the same plane, but the one that goes after.”

“Fifty-nine days? That’s a good long visit for sure.”

“Oh no, Grandma, we’re here. Last time to say goodbye”, he says in a that same small sad voice.

We hug and kiss goodbye, “Until next time, not forever, OK?”

“OK, Grandma. I love you.”

“I love you SO much, my angel.”

“You’re a princess, Grandma!” More good chat with the T-man

“Grandma, I camped in the backyard last night!”

“Did you really?”

“Yes, for real, Grandma, not pretend. In a tent and my sleeping bag!!”

“Wow, T, that sounds like so much fun.”

“It WAS fun, Grandma. But today is a rainy day, see?” As he turns the phone toward the window so I could indeed see the rainy Pacific Northwest Sunday.

“What do you want to be for Halloween?”

“Grandma, I already told you a million times, I want to be a Gruffalo.”

“You want to be a buffalo?”

“NO GRANDMA, you are silly! You KNOW I always wanted to be the GRUFFALO. I told you. NOT a buffalo!”

“OK. If you’re going to be a Gruffalo, what should I be for Halloween?”

“You’re a princess, Grandma, that’s what you are.”

“I’m a princess?”

“Yes, Grandma, that’s what you are!”

OK, stop. Just STOP. Drop mic. Heart exploding.

“That is a very kind thing you said. Thank you, I WILL be a princess for Halloween.”

Out of the mouths of babes, right? Totally unprompted. No coaching. Is this how he thinks of me? I really have died and gone to heaven. My job here on Earth is done.

And it should come as no surprise that I’ve started working on my costume. It’s not like I don’t already have a tiara or two hanging around Casa de Enchanted Seashells…

I vow to be the princessiest Grandma ever.

If only there was a Prince Charming somewhere…

PS The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson is one of T’s favorite characters.