Friday, December 08, 2006

An Alternate Ending...

Ok, the mommy of Baby Elle did not particularly care for the ending of my last blog entry. She thought it was sweet right up until the point where the little tyke decided to mind-meld me. Mom's. Go figure. So out of respect to her I have decided to write a new ending to the last blog. Not that I can improve upon it. But if it gives her a sense of sanity (mine, not hers) then it will be worth the effort. So, here goes. Taken it from the top...
I can scarcely believe that I fell for it. Yet I did. As I entered "Babies R Us" in Chesterfield Valley tonight I saw her right away. She was in her baby seat which rested in a shopping cart and was being pushed by her mother, aka: my daughter. My wife beat me to them. It takes a lot of planning and dexterity to beat this woman to the side of Baby Elle. But after I arrived my daughter and my wife began looking at clothes, leaving Elle and I alone.

I leaned on the hande of the cart and stared down at her. She stared up at me. I smiled at her. She smiled at me. My smile lasted longer than hers because hers morphed into a feet kicking, hand slapping celebration. I began pushing her cart away from the mom's so that I could spend some time with my granddaughter.

We turned the first corner we came to. I had been watching where we were going. After I negotiated the turn I looked back at Baby Elle. She was looking at me again. She was more than looking. She was absorbing. She was communicating. And she was doing it with her eyes. I stopped pushing the cart. I stood still. She sat still. Our stare continued.

I was actually falling. Falling into her eyes. It was a very long, very deep fall. I loved every minute of it.

The stare went on for at the very least a full minute. I felt like I was being pulled into her soul. Like I was being questioned, inspected, evaluated. "Grandpa, can I trust you? Are you going to be as much fun as you act like you are going to be? Grandpa ... do you love me?" She never spoke a word and yet she said volumes. I hope that she read the answer in my eyes. "Yes." "Yes." "Yes."

I broke our stare and looked at the nearest rack of babies clothing. The first thing my eyes fell upon was a University of Illinois warm-up suit. The whole thing. Nylon top and nylon pants but with a nice soft lining. Perfect. It might have been styled for the Illini but I happen to know that they are also Chicago Bears colors. I picked it up from the rack and showed it to her. She smiled again and stomped her feet. She loved it.

I put it in the cart. I didn't even look at the price tag.

When I found my daughter, Elle's mother, I showed her what Elle and I had picked out. She laughed, asking me when she would wear it. "ALL OF THE TIME" was the only reply I could think of.

"Maybe you should wait until she's a little older."

Harumph. Kill joy.

Elle and I put the warm-up suit back on the rack. I was much sadder than she was. We went back into our staring mode. I felt like I was becoming intimately aquainted with my granddaughter without a word being shared. I started looking for something else to buy her. We walked through aisles of clothing, toys, furniture and the occasional weird thing that I could not identify. Child rearing has changed profoundly since I engaged in it. Nothing caught Elle's eye. Nothing caught mine either.

Except for Elle.

I thought about pulling her out of her seat and carrying her around the store like my own personal trophy attesting to my triumph over the assault time and tribulation. As if hoisting her on my shoulders would proclaim to all who heard, "IN YOUR FACE, WORLD! LIFE CAN BE HARD BUT LOOK WHAT GOD DOES! BEAUTY IS ETERNAL!" I nixed the idea when I realized just how securely she was strapped in. I would never in a cazillion years get her back in that thing. So we pulled off into a corner and resumed our staring. Only this time I sang to her. Some little ditty about the wheels on the bus going round and round. She didn't care what the song was, only that it was being sung to her. Sometimes she smiled that killer smile. Some times she kicked and swung her arms. Mainly she just stared deeply into my eyes. I liked those moments the best.

There are already presents under my tree for Baby Elle. Not that she needs anything. What I plan on really giving her cannot be wrapped. Love. Attention. Affection. Touch. Hugs. Smiles. Laughter. Time. Myself. I want to know what her voice sounds like. I want to hear her laughter. I want to see her scowl at her parents (oh yes, she will scowl at her parents!) and come to me to seek understanding. And I will pour upon her the wisdom of my years. It probably will not help solve her problem but if we can walk away from it with a grin on our faces and maybe a milk shake in our hands I do believe we will be ahead of the game.

Merry Christmas, Baby Elle. I love you.


Anonymous said...

sense when did you drink milk shakes?

Anonymous said...

much better...