Monday, 10 June 2019

Letter to a Grandson

Dear Grandson,
You last appeared in this blog sitting in your high chair, waving a piece of asparagus around before eating it. You're still likely to be doing that, because the exploration of food in all its forms is one of your favourite activities. But you've done so many other things, of course, during the past two years. The rate at which you're racing along you'll soon be able to read this for yourself, so here's something for you. 
We had breakfast together yesterday, while your parents and big sister caught up on some sleep. You gave me your suggestions, "Hoops and milk, and strawberries? Yes, strawberries. On the Peter Rabbit plate. Yes. And milk in my cup. Yes?"
I said, "I haven't got Hoops. I've got other cereals, look".
You looked in the cupboard and said, "That one, and that one - oh, and that one".
"Choose just one", I said, so you chose with an air of disappointment, and scooted across to the fridge.
"Cheese!" you said, opening it. "Just a small snack. Cheese!"
We settled on cereal, strawberries, milk in a cup, with toast and marmalade for me.
"Granny, the same as Paddington Bear!" you said, while slurping cereal. "Ha, ha, ha. That's funny!"

Things are indeed funny, and often cause robust, hooting mirth. You throw back your head and roar, ROAR with laughter. My ears ring with it. While we eat we attempt to watch the infant sparrows being fed by their parents on the bird table. When you see them land you shout, "BIRDS - out there!" and laugh as they take off. The infant sparrows have a meagre breakfast.

Other members of the family appear, and you shout to tell them what you're eating, what you might eat next, what you might do next. When you've finished the second and third courses of your breakfast you climb on your stool next to the sink for me to  more-or-less hose you down. I wash your tummy and your back for good measure. This is hilarious and you nearly fall off the stool. This is so funny, so uproariously funny that you can hardly stay upright.

You go off into another room, where the toys your sister played houses and families with are now marshalled into an army. The little people and even the dogs ride motor-bikes with enormously vocal engines. They are packed into the cars and boats that your sister used to take them for holidays, but now they are roaring around the floor, colliding and tipping.
Your sister joins you and makes a pet show on the roof of one of the houses, carefully arranging animals in size order. But the army helicopter takes off, one low swerve sending the animals spinning away. There are screams and tears and adult intervention.

Recently there was a dispute about whose Granny I am. You shouted, "MY Granny", and she said, "Actually, she's my Granny first because I was born first." "I'M first!" you said, and the argument went on for some time until I intervened and eventually we all went out into the garden.
Your relationship with your sister is wonderful for you both, although it may not always seem that way to you.  She encourages you in the sort of behaviour she finds hilarious, she teaches you so much, she occasionally puts boundaries in place for you, and of course, there are real disputes at times. You always want to know where she is, what she's doing, and are concerned if she's not available. It's mutual. You teach her how to share, how to understand differences, how to make allowances, how to weather the storms.

Luckily you love books and music almost as much as you love food. You can curl up with a good book by yourself, and you love to be read to, knowing many of your favourite books and joining in the key phrases. You know how to relax, and you love a dose of comfort. You spread yourself across my big bed, sinking into a pile of pillows, hands behind your head, legs crossed at the ankles. "Aaaah, comfy." you say. 
Your whole family does yoga.

So here you are in my garden, on top of Flower Mountain. Flowers are not really your sort of thing unless they have big fat bumble bees in them. Another bit of the garden that you call 'The Jungle' is your sort of place. It has been made like a jungle specially for you and your sister. There are tall bamboos and tropical looking plants and a tractor tyre which was going to be a sandpit, but you have decided it's a boat. Yesterday you rowed the boat in the jungle and told me you found monkeys and parrots and elephants and tigers. 

What a great world you inhabit, Small Grandson.
Enjoy it all,
With love from your AND your sister's Granny.


gz said...


Elephant's Child said...

This is truly lovely. All of it.
Many, many thanks.

Elephant's Child said...

PS: I don't know whether I envy you or your granchildren more. Suffice it to say my eyes are green tonight.

Relatively Retiring said...

gz and EC; thank you so much for your comments, and especial thanks for noticing I'm still around after such long absence.
Grandchildren are a joy, and I struggle to keep up with them. It is a tonic to witness the sort of energy they put into living.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I hope he reads this someday. The love of a grandparent cannot be measured, it is full, not judgmental, and full of joy.

Ali Honey said...

That's lovely. I have a grandson of similar age and he is a true delight. he now has a younger brother and things change as they grow. Enjoy!!

Relatively Retiring said...

Starting Over:I'll try to ensure that he knows where to find these family posts. His big sister already reads them for herself. She has said to me,"What a dear little thing I was!"
I quite agree, and I'd love to find some sort of information about my own childhood.

Ali Honey: thank you for reading and commnenting. It's great to capture the joy, and also the skirmishes as they happen because, as you say. the time with them at this age is so fleeting.

Zhoen said...

So much love in this, brimming over and sparkling away. They'd both love my garden, lots of bumble bees and flowers, and in the back some items that could be many things.

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: thank you. Yes, I think our gardens have a lot in common. I wish you could see my summerhouses, made by my late husband entirely from recycled materials (but who needs more than one summerhouse?) Then the fairies have moved in here big time and colonised an old sink with their little cabins and winding sea-shell paths. Magical!

Jenny Woolf said...

I feel as if I know him! what a lovely post. And what a delightful garden, with a bit specially for them. I have such clear memories of the gardens of both my grandmothers, and I like to think about them even now.

Relatively Retiring said...

Jenny: thank you for the kind comment. There's something about Grannies' gardens. I remember mine vividly, and I hope my grandchildren will have equally positive memories.

Pam said...

Beautifully expressed. Grannyhood is the best.

Relatively Retiring said...

Pam: Thank you. Yes, I really think it is. I enjoy seeing your many exciting adventures with your grandchildren. Well done, Granny - and Grandpa!

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