From My WindowIssue Date: January 13, 2021
My Favorite Little Person
By Jane Thibodeau Martin,
I miss a lot of my older relatives, my siblings and my adult friends, but one of the hardest separations for me in this time of Covid isolation is from my favorite little person " my granddaughter.
She's safe and well with her parents in Oklahoma, and I get glimpses of her via video calls and photos daily. Her parents do a good job of keeping me updated, and sharing those funny, wistful and interesting moments in her life, but of course it is not the same as being there.
Last fall, it was the story of the reversal in the "pecking order" (literally!) between Brixey Jane and the family chickens. The little flock of hens discovered that Brixey often had a snack to munch on when she was outside playing, and if they mobbed her aggressively, she'd become frightened, drop her food and flee. This resulted in the hens becoming further emboldened and chasing her around even when she didn't have food. Her father's solution was to arm Brixey with two of the foam "pool noodles," about four feet long. When she carried one in each hand and waved them around, she became a menacing figure to the chickens, who would flee approach of the "long-armed monster." Video of these encounters was sent to me so Grandma could enjoy the sight of her granddaughter turning the tables on the hens. Didn't take long for a more respectful chicken-toddler relationship to develop after that.
I derived a great deal of amusement from her father describing her unbridled enthusiasm talking non-stop about spiders after her preschool class spent a unit studying them. "She goes on and on reciting facts about spiders," my son said. "Wow," I responded. "She sounds exactly like YOU as a three year old, talking incessantly about frogs."
I have fond memories of my maternal grandmother, but unfortunately I never knew my paternal grandmother because she passed away long before I was born. My granddaughter is fortunate to have two grandmothers who love her and usually see her often. Her other grandmother and I are totally united in indulging and cherishing Brixey. And on top of that she has a great-grandmother, my own mother, who dotes on her as well.
I can look at that sweet girl and see such strong echoes of her aunt (the senior princess) and father, my own two children. And I also see a reflection of her mother, a patient, creative and loving woman.
Brixey is the only person in the world who can lure me on to the trampoline, bouncing up and down with her and knowing I will wake up the next morning with a really, really sore behind. She's one of the only people in the world who can make me patient, sitting uncharacteristically still to see her dance, do yoga or watch a movie, an activity I normally abhor. (But I am now a big fan of "Moana.") I think the only thing that can keep up with her is her shadow, and during our visits, her grandpa and I take turns chasing her around and collapsing into a chair to rest.
I now know why people are so besotted with their grandchildren, something I didn't understand until I turned grey. It's all the best, most of the time, of your most-loved memories of your own children; without the weeks of sleep deprivation, normal frustrations and hard work. It's like dessert, without eating your beets first.
We will make up for lost time once vaccination is available to us seniors. In the meantime, you can be grateful I am strict about staying "safer at home," because if you saw me, I'd likely subject you to the classic stereotypical oversharing grandparent talk. It would be stories like Brixey requesting more ketchup with her dinner, because "I'm real impressed with ketchup right now."
I'm pretty motivated to stay healthy, because I don't want to be a cipher like my paternal grandmother is to me. I only know her from a few pictures and scant memories from my father, who was just seven when his mom died. I want to be the grandmother remembered fondly like I remember my own maternal grandmother. I want to be remembered jumping on the trampoline. Better times to make memories are ahead of us, I am grateful for that.
As I write this it is hard to refrain from commenting on the shocking, sickening and sad events of the past week. There is little I could say that has not already been said, and most have formed their own opinions. I am praying for my country and the Biden administration, because there are a myriad of urgent and difficult issues confronting us. Somehow all of us, regardless of our personal opinions, need to find some small common grounds and try to unite around them, to make things better. The bitter divisions we have now are not, I think we'd all agree, a legacy we want to leave to our children and grandchildren. "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."
You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.
Recent stories, opinions and photos