On a recent visit to our granddaughter, Ava, and her parents (and of course the two dogs, one cat and several bunnies), as we were enjoying our “*Double Dad Fathers’ Day” lunch afterglow, Ava wanted to play one of her favorite games, the Rhyming Game.
One person starts with a two-word rhyme, like “wacky quacky,” and on to each person. You cannot stop, you can’t fool around and waste time; when your turn is up, you have to make a two-word rhyme or you’re out–them’s the rules. And of course, we always devolve into the “poop” rhymes just because they make us all laugh. The first time I told Ava “poopy-doopy, you so loopy” I thought she would never stop laughing.
One of the greatest things about being with Ava is that anything goes. She gives me freedom to be silly, to color pictures with her (and go outside the lines), to make things together, to follow after her when she says, “Lulu, I have something to show you!”
I never had children of my own, but through two marriages I have two amazing stepdaughters, one of whom is Ava’s mom. In fact, I watched her grow up, go to school, become a leader there, go on to West Point and then graduate and go to war overseas. By then her dad, my Crankee Yankee, and I were married. We both held our collective breaths through each of her five deployments.
Now that we have Ava in our lives, our own lives have changed. We now have is this amazing little girl in our lives, for whom we would do anything. I hear her voice in my head, I know when she’s happy, and when she isn’t, my heart hurts for her. I suppose that my revelations are no big surprise to anyone who has had children and then grandchildren–but they are brand-new to me.
There is nothing about Ava that doesn’t seem utterly fascinating, we love to know what she’s up to, what she likes and how she views the world. Right now her life values have been and are still being set. She knows these truths:
- If you hurt someone’s feelings, you say sorry and give them a hug.
- There’s no hitting another person or an animal–ever.
- You always remember to say “please” and “thank you.”
- She is deeply and vastly loved by her family.
- She cares about animals and can’t stand to see them hurt.
- She has an active and vivid imagination, which we all encourage.
- She has an amazing vocabulary–you often forget you are speaking with a four-year old.
- She is kind to people.
- She loves music and she loves to sing and dance.
- She has no problem walking up to a shy child and introducing herself, and asking them their name.
- When she sees someone she thinks is beautiful, she tells them. (I have witnessed this once or twice, and the effect of her sincere flattery is incredible.)
- She has her own chores to do, and is thrilled to be able to mark them off her little chore chart.
- She understands that a family is a unit where everyone plays their part to help everyone.
And of course there is much more, but these stand out in my mind. For me, a first-time grandmother (or step-grandmother to be specific), this miracle of a child is a treasure and a blessing. I’m a pretty lovey-dovey person, but honestly, I couldn’t have imagined how far love can go or how it would change me. Ava has made me a better person, and I can’t wait to see all the good she will do in the world.
So, having said all that, “poopy-doopy–I’M so loopy!: 🙂
*The Crankee Yankee’s wonderful daughter, mom of Ava, made the favorite meal of both her father and her husband, homemade shepard’s pie.