Let’s Play Trains
I adore my grandson. I adore the feeling between us when we are together. I adore the ways he invites me into a world that is less than 3 feet tall and closer to the heart of things.
He is navigating the mysteries of language, and sometimes his messages come coded in simple words that bring smiles I struggle to hide.
“Grammy, sit your butt down right here,” he said. He pointed to a spot on the rock-hard salmon-colored Saltillo tile in the narrow hallway. His wide, tawny eyes looked at me, serious, earnest, infinite pools of sweetness in an ocean of 3-year-old innocence. My bright turquoise eyes, hooded by lids that sag after 66 years of blinking them, looked back. I so wanted to sit my butt down for him. But my muscles groaned as I thought about the effort that would require.
Sesame Street underwear and a faded teal T-shirt covered his beanpole frame. He had ditched his shorts, socks, and sneakers, unessential dress for play time with Grammy, when he walked in the house. My sundress, a bright print, billowed around my ample body.
A wall sconce smiled yellow light onto our intergenerational playground. We had just powered two 3-inch locomotives down imaginary tracks from the foyer to the edge of the carpet in front of the spare bedroom, complete with sound effects: “chug chugs”, “choo choos” and “all aboards”. His train was the blue Thomas. Mine was the soft red Rosie.
He had pushed Thomas with ease as he scooted down the hall squatting on his flexible haunches or crawling on virgin knees. I had pushed Rosie, one step at a time, bent over at the waist. The metal joint under the long brown scar on my right knee would have screamed like a banshee if I had knelt on it. Squatting was out of the question.
I longed for the respite of my recliner. But I also wanted to stay right where I was, in the world of little boys, tiny trains and make-believe play. When I least expected it, my heart could explode into a fireworks finale of joy if I said or did something that evoked his wide, impish grin. My age-spotted hand rested on top of Rosie. His small hand, wearing orange paint from the morning’s art session, grasped Thomas.
“Okey-dokey, sweet pea,” I said. I slid, no make that collapsed to the floor, my back braced against one wall and my feet, in bright orange clogs, braced against another for support. My butt was now parked where he wanted it. I chuckled.
He crawled into my lap. He squeezed my bat-winged arm and kissed it several times. “I wuv you, Grammy,” he said. He rested his head on my chest and I ran my hand over the bristled hair his Papa had sheared tight during a COVID haircut. “I love you, too, little boy,” I said. “I love you to the moon in the sky and back and I will for always.”
Affection shared, he hopped off my lap. “Let’s play trains, Grammy,” he said.
Yes, let’s. If happiness and contentment are the true measure of success, this moment was off the charts on the ledger of my life.
Copyright 2020, Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D.
Photo by Linda Sandel Pettit
Dr. Linda Sandel Pettit, a priestess-at-heart and retired counseling psychologist, can be found at www.thedrspettit.com. Linda loves putting her intuitive nature, spiritual understanding and clinical experience in service to others. She is available for on-line consultations. For information about fees and packages, and to schedule, visit BOOK NOW. Payment can be made through PayPal or credit card. For fee assistance of if you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org