My plans were to post this on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, but I’m getting the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine tomorrow and if predictions are correct, I might be too sick to do anything but lay on the sofa rolled up in a warm blanket and watch Netflix or reruns of Bewitched, so here it is!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day in spite of the commercialism. In elementary school, I looked forward to the day we’d give and receive those little Valentine’s Day cards (including the inedible heart-shaped candies.)
Later on, I especially cherished Angel Boy’s handmade cards –which I saved–every single one of them.
There’s something lovely and old fashioned about being thought of as someone’s Valentine, and I like that a lot.
I have simple wants; a bunch of wildflowers is treasured as much as a dozen red roses; all gifts from the heart are appreciated whether it’s a Chanel or a seashell. Or a handmade card from the Angels.
These flowers are called alstroemeria. Native to South America. I prefer their other name, Lily of the Incas, ‘cos it sounds exotic. I’ve been growing them for about fifteen years. Surprisingly, they do quite well here and are drought tolerant. I’ve even been able to successfully dig up and divide the tubers.
I hope you’re having (will have) a happy, happy day!
“Grandma, you should have seen this. Daddy catapulted himself from the cushion onto the sofa.”
“T, what was that big word?”
“Daddy CATAPULTED. You would not believe it.”
“I hope Daddy is OK! T, that is such a wonderful word, very descriptive, and I’m so proud of you for knowing it and for using it correctly in your sentence!”
“Now. Look. Feast your eyes on this, Grandma. It’s a new bench for the kitchen table. It’s nice, huh, Grandma?”
“Oh wait right here. I’m going to put you down and you can watch Mommy make dinner for a minute. I’m going into the Grandma room. I want to show you the present I have for you in our special drawer. It’s a surprise. It’s sparkly just like you like and it’s shiny.”
“Well, hold on. Let’s think about this. If it’s a surprise, do you want to wait until I’m there before you show me?”
“No, ‘cos you’ll forget by then.”
“But what if I don’t forget? What if I remember?”
“Oh, don’t worry little Grandma, you’ll forget.”
“Wow, it IS sparkly and shiny, you’re right about that!”
(It’s a Christmas tree decoration from last year, a shiny little silvery disco ball.)
“Don’t forget to put it back in the drawer so you can show me again.”
“And Grandma, don’t forget to bring me a surprise for the drawer too, OK? I’ll be at the airport to pick you up.”
“Do I EVER forget?”
(The answer is obvious. I never forget.)
As a side note, when he was out of the kitchen getting my present, I asked, “He seems to think my visit is imminent. What have you told him?”
“Don’t worry, imminent means something different to T. He doesn’t really have a good grasp of time.”
This is the sad plight of grandparent’s new reality…not to be able to hug and play with our angel boys and girls, and to miss the excitement of Daddy catapulting himself around the house.
Still, there’s always always something to be grateful for, right?
Is there anyone that doesn’t love balloons? We know they need to be disposed of properly to be good ocean stewards, but balloons are fun and festive, except when they POP. I still scream when I hear the loud explosion of a popped balloon.
Do you think this curly haired little girl in her flannel nightgown might have imagined C.S. Lewis’ quote would come to fruition?
For the present is the point at which time touches eternity.
That story is now; we need to go back in time to a week ago before it’s Grandma to the rescue.
It’s all a bit convoluted, but I’m accurately depicting the chain of events. I hope you can follow along and it’s not too confusing.
Contained in the box of gifts for his half birthday was a little ball from the dollar store that caught my eye because it was soft and squishy and was an actual face of a tiger, not simply a cartoon rendering.
He has lovely eyes and an endearing quality, don’t you agree?
When T FaceTimed me as he was opening the box, Dad set the phone down so I could watch him and we could chat about all the items. As soon as he picked up the ball, he fell instantly in love. He gave it a hug and stroked his cheek with it, which is the sign for mother (although he’s not aware of that).
He immediately said, “Grandma, I love love love this tiger. Do you know what I’m going to name him? I’m going to name him Tiger.”
I said, “It makes me happy that you love him, I thought you might, and Tiger is a perfect name!”
He gave Tiger another hug.
I said, “Hey T, how about whenever you hug Tiger, that will be exactly like a hug from me. It’s Grandma hugging you all the time. What do you think about that?”
“Every single time you hug Tiger, it’s ME hugging you back.”
And then he started kissing it. So yes, my heart overflowed again and broke at the same time because it’s still not safe to travel to give him real Grandma hugs.
Later on, Mom texted me that Tiger had become his new “favorite” and he wouldn’t go anywhere without him and slept next to him on the pillow.
So the backstory is simple. T really really bonded with Tiger and he was the object representation of my unconditional LOVE.
Now you’re all caught up, right?
Yesterday in the late afternoon, my phone rang and this is how FaceTime started.
No “Hello”, just “Grandma, I got to tell you. It’s bad, real bad. Something bad happened.”
“Hello, my T.”
“Oh yeah, hello Grandma, you aren’t gonna like this.”
Now if you’re wondering why I was so calm (which I was) it’s because I know beyond any shadow of any doubt that if something really catastrophic had occurred, I would have heard about it from mom or dad, and they wouldn’t have allowed a four-year-old to become the messenger of something terrible that had befallen one of them.
Anyway, my Grandma-spidey-sense kicked in and I could pretty much figure out what constituted a crisis in his lovely little life.
“What happened, tell me!”
“OK. Listen. but I have to show you. You aren’t gonna like it. I’m gonna flip.”
When he flips the camera to show me what’s in his hand, my crystal ball vision was confirmed.
There was damage to the tiger ball. One ear had been slightly chewed off.
“Oh my. Poor Tiger. How did that happen?”
“Well, Grandma, Charlotte used those two little teeth of hers to tear off his ear. Can you believe it?”
“I hope she didn’t eat it, did she?”
“No. I was being kind and shared it with her for just a minute and she damaged him.”
“T, that is pretty sad for Tiger, I agree. I understand you are sad about it. How about if you put it up on a high shelf so that Char can’t get to it and I’ll fix him the next time I’m there. You know how good I am at fixing things, right?”
“OK Grandma, I will. I know exactly where to put him.”
“Now let me see your beautiful face for a minute.”
“There we go. That’s good.”
“I’m going to flip MY camera because I want to show you a surprise I have for you.”
I walked into his bedroom.
“Look, T. What do you see?”
“Yes, way. As soon as I saw how much you loved Tiger, I went back to the store and got another tiger, just in case something happened to him. And the balls were all so cute, I got a kitty cat and a sloth, too. See?”
“DADDY YOU HAVE TO COME HERE AND SEE WHAT GRANDMA HAS.YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT. HURRY AND SEE!!”
“A sloth? Show me again. Grandma, you know how much I love sloths, don’t you?”
(Says Daddy, “Good call, Grandma. He was really upset.”)
“T, I’m going to mail them to you first thing in the morning and you should have them by Saturday. That’s three days from now.”
“Grandma, can you go to the post office NOW and mail them to me?”
“It’s a bit late in the day, so it will have to be in the morning, but I promise I’ll do it first thing, OK?”
“DAD, GRANDMA’S GOING TO MAIL THEM TO ME FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.”
“Now we have that problem solved, don’t we? That will make everything better, don’t you think? Maybe it will be a good idea not to let Char get too close to the balls so that she doesn’t chew on them, right? She’s still such a little one and is learning what can and can’t go in her mouth. We need to be very careful with her.”
Apparently we were done with that subject and his fears were sufficiently allayed because he entered the Twilight Zone with his next topic…
“Grandma? I’m going to pick you up from the airport tomorrow. It might take me a week to get there, but I’m going to be there and the first thing you’ll say is, ‘There’s my Theo!!””
“Whoa, um, T, I’m not actually going to get on an airplane tomorrow, you know that, don’t you?”
“It’s going to take me a long time to get there, probably a week, but I’ll be there.”
“I hope I can see you really soon, Angel Boy, and then I will give you the BIGGEST HUG ever.”
“OK, Grandma, Bye.”
And that was it.
Whew, good thing I’m Grandma to the rescue. Crisis averted.
If only all disasters were so easily solved, right?
I was on the phone yesterday evening, talking to my littlest Angel Boy who was beyond excited that the box of fairy garden bits and pieces had arrived.
There are fairy gardens all over his neighborhood and he’s fascinated exactly the same way I am.
A long while back, pre-Covid, I had gotten a lot of things from my local Dollar Tree to make a fairy garden here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells, but the trip they had scheduled to visit me had to be cancelled, so that’s why I sent them.
As I was chatting with him, watching him place the little gnomes and owls and house and bridge in a corner of his front yard, I looked up and saw the most amazing shadows on the wall.
They’re some of the fifteen windchimes that line the house on the deck. The sea turtle swimming across the wall made me smile.
“I know I am. I’m a very small person and now you’re almost as big as I am.”
“Let’s compare hands, little Grandma!”
“OH MY GAWD, Grandma. My hand is almost as big as yours now!”
“I know, T, remember I told you that you are growing and growing every day and I stay the same size?”
“You’re my old little Grandma.”
*Yes, I am. (Lolz.)*
“Grandma, can you carry me?”
“I don’t think I can do that anymore, but let me try. You are so tall and SO heavy. I can pick you up, but I can’t carry you now. Daddy will carry you if you’re tired.”
“Daddy, Grandma cut triangles and hearts and circles and squares and I glued them to a piece of paper. Do you wanna see? Grandma said that’s one of the things I’ll do when I go to Kindergarten.”
“Grandma, did your little boy Daddy do that too? Did he like to glue shapes? Did he like to read? Did he like to watch Sesame Street? My Daddy is your little boy, right, Grandma? But he’s a man so how can he be your little boy? He’s big. My Daddy is so big. He’s bigger than you, little Grandma.”
“If there’s no gravity in space, how did the astronauts not float away when they were on the moon?”
What a great and thoughtful question, T. Let’s research it and find the answer.”
“Grandma? Do you love me more than a chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles?”
“Hmm, that’s a really tough one, buddy. I do love chocolate a LOT. Let me think about it. Well, the answer is yes, I love you more than a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles.”
“Do you love me more than seashells and rocks?”
“Oh NO, that’s going to be so hard. Let me give it some thought. *Sigh*. You definitely know how much I love seashells and rocks, but I love you so much MORE.”
This went on for the longest time until he was completely assured that I love him more than ANYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD.
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.
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?
“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?”
Angel Boy 2.0 had a cold so he stayed home from preschool.
“I’m a little snotty today, Grandma!” He was feeling much better after a long morning nap. We were in the living room looking at the windy day while he enjoyed a protein smoothie popsicle (see recipe below).
For the past couple of days, we had noticed a big truck parked in front of his house, taking up more than its fair share of the street. No one knew who it belonged to but we speculated that it possibly was a contractor’s vehicle working at a neighbor’s house.
Recently, Theo has been noticing different cars and trucks and asking for them to be identified. “I said, that’s a Dodge Ram truck. He is so rude to park there every day. He needs to park somewhere else.”
Theo repeated, “Yeah, he needs to park somewhere else. He’s so RUDE.”
All day long we would check to see if the truck was still there and it was, so it became an ongoing joke about how RUDE it was to park in front of Theo’s house so there wasn’t enough room for HIS car.
At dinnertime, we were sharing interesting stories about our day and in a moment of silence, Theo said, “Mommy and Daddy, that Dodge Ram truck is so RUDE!”
There was such a shocked expression on Mom and Dad’s faces, I really wish I had a photo to capture it because this is what it SOUNDED like Theo said…
“That goddamn fuck is so RUDE!”
Dodge Ram truck = goddam fuck —a very expressive three-year-old with a mouth stuffed full of lasagna and a stuffy nose.
For a brief moment, I had a feeling they thought I had taught him how to swear like a merchant mariner. However, when I hastened to translate, we couldn’t stop laughing.
Until the mysterious man drove away, Theo kept saying, “He’s so RUDE with his Dodge Ram truck!”
Just another brilliant slice of conversation with this always enchanting human.
Cherries (any frozen or fresh fruit) Banana – one 100% fruit juice — 8oz Kale and/or spinach — handful Vegan Protein Powder–one scoop Cinnamon to taste
Combine kale and juice. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend to desired thickness. Pour into popsicle freezer containers, the ones with the little sticks. Freeze until firm.They are so healthy and delicious!