Tuesday, November 08, 2011

And The Moment Was Golden

She is two years old and the sun rises and sets in her eyes. This little blonde princess seems unable to decide if she will be shy or the eternal extrovert. All I know is that when I enter the room for some odd reason her face breaks into a smile. If I do not walk immediately to her side she will come to mine. Her arms go up, hands extended, eyes asking the silent question. "Will you hold me?"

(Little girl, the tides will stop lapping against the shores, the birds will forever forget their song, the planets will cease to rotate before I will respond to your question with anything short of a "yes.")

As she settles into my lap she looks until she sees a laptop or my ipad which is always close by my side. She points at it. I know what is coming. Two words joined into one. "Airplane." I do not know where she learned a love for flying as she has never flown. At least not in her waking moments. I suspect that her sleep finds her coasting tranquilly through broken clouds, playing tag with her own shadow. She has fallen in love with the equation of altitude + motion. Their sum, in her gentle eyes amounts to "happy." Where she came by this I know not.

She waits patiently, legs dangling across mine, as I type in the perfect web address that will satisfy her hunger. And for the next minutes we soar together on the wings of fighter planes and shiny red bi-plane racers. As one video comes to an end she looks at the selection and points to the one she wants next. She leans into me and I feel her relax as yet another dream dances across the screen.

She was mine last Saturday. She sat in my car as she, her sister, her grandmother, and I drove to a nearby air force base. Outside the main gate is an airplane park. Huge cargo planes sit in a semi-circular configuration, beckoning a welcome home to the airmen who call this place home. I held her hand as we walked among the jets, her eyes ablaze with the knowledge that these metallic creatures are hers to touch. She points at the door of a monstrous jet and says, "knock!" Instead I lift her high off the ground and tell her to knock herself. She hesitates, small hand clenched into a fist. And she knocks half scared that some one will answer. They do not. And we move on to the next airplane.

An hour later we sit together in a McDonalds, fulfilling her supper request. She eats a meal punctuated by trips to a console of computer games for children. Finally she settles in my lap. As she lifts a french fry to her mouth she looks up into my eyes. The hand with no fry reaches for my face. I pause, not knowing what she is doing. With an open palm she runs her skin agains the skin of my cheek. She pulls away only to repeat her gentle touch. This time longer, seemingly lost in thought. I do not know what two years olds think of. But I know love when it touches me.

I am her grandpa and I took her to airplanes. And the moment was golden.