Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mouths of Babes

Okay, so last night I was over at my mother’s apartment to visit with her and to check up on her. She had a slight fall the day before and hadn’t bothered to tell me so I was making sure all the body parts were intact. Once satisfied she was still of sound mind and body, I proceeded to venture into an arena that is the bane of my existence here on terra firma.

What I’m referring to is “all things electronic.” It’s not like I’m a dinosaur refusing to adapt to the multitude of changes in our ever evolving technological society. I’ve got all the latest doodads such as large flat screen TV, iPhone, laptop computer, etc. But for some reason, I have difficulty doing some of the simplest things to get these so-called modern conveniences to work as advertised. Mom loves to play solitaire on her computer. For some odd reason the game she uses on Pogo has refused to function since she came back from vacation. I messed with this stupid game for about an hour before having to admit defeat. Time to call my computer friend who has had to rescue me innumerable times before.

During all of this, my wife, Isaura, called me from home and said, “Someone wants to talk to you.” Sure enough, it was Alyssa, our two-and-a-half year old granddaughter. She normally comes to spend the night with us on Thursdays, so this was an unexpected surprise. “Dandaddy, come play with me,” she said in that cute little voice that is impossible for me to refuse. So I finished up at mom’s and drove the mile and a half to my house. When I walked in, Alyssa and my wife (Alyssa and Brookie call her Meema) were watching a Veggie Tales movie called “Josh and the Wall.” A great kid’s movie about Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.

The rest of the evening went something like this: “Dandaddy, watch me!” as my little precious was bouncing on the couch, springing from one end to the other. I grew tired watching her! I settled into my stuffed chair and prepared to have a bowl of my home made corn chowder and a large wedge of corn bread. Yum! Alyssa immediately took an interest in my late evening dinner. She squeezed in next to me so I could share bites of chowder and corn bread with her. Then it was time to play “Can’t Catch Me!” This is a great game for small children in our home because our downstairs is laid out where the staircase ascends to the second floor from the middle of the floor plan. Thus, every room on the first floor feeds to the staircase. The path is natural for little ones to run in circles expecting to be chased by grandparents. So, in her most coquettish voice, Alyssa says, “Dandaddy! Can’t catch me!” and off she goes. I follow at a distance because I know the game. She stops in the kitchen where she scurries under the kitchen table to hide. A moment later I come in and loudly ask, “Where’s Alyssa?” My wife is puttering around the kitchen usually cleaning up or preparing food for the next day, and says in reply, “I don’t know. Where’s Alyssa?” From under the table our little hurricane declares in an authoritative tone, “I’m under the table!” She hasn’t figured out the principle of hide-and-seek yet.

Later we sit back down in the stuffed chair to watch “Curly Top,” one of the VHS movies we have of Shirley Temple. Alyssa has ringlets like Shirley Temple. We were comfortably snuggled down when Alyssa laid her head on my leg, wrapped her little arms around my thigh and said, “I love you, Dandaddy!” Now I ask you, can there be anything more meaningful, more fulfilling than to have a small child hug you and openly express their feelings for you? I sat there for a moment unable to speak because my heart had suddenly found itself in my throat. I wanted to hold onto that moment as long as possible.

Laura, our daughter and Alyssa’s mom came in shortly after to take our little one home. After her bath with Meema, we walked Laura and Alyssa out to the car. I sang “Jesus Loves Me” with Alyssa joining in. As the car began to roll away Meema and I stood on the sidewalk waving, blowing kisses and saying “I love you!” All the while Alyssa was doing the same through the open window. “Bye Meema! Bye Dandaddy! I love you!” were the words we heard last.

Isaura and I looked at each other once the car was around the corner. The look we shared said it all – Could we be more blessed than this?

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