Along with her parents, my granddaughter Winnie has been staying with us for a few weeks while my daughter’s wrist heals, and her presence has taken over every minute, every day, every night, every room. There is no space into which she has not made her presence known. But this weekend she returned home with her parents for a brief homecoming visit, and our house is empty.
Once again I am struck by the impact the past three weeks of living with Winnie, and the past three months of knowing Winnie, have made on my life. She has made my busy life busier in a way I had forgotten about; every moment is about the present. There is no time to reflect, which my students will tell you is one of my favorite tasks, unless I am writing, because there are so many ways to interact with this captivating baby.
Until a month ago, I often sat back with a cup of coffee in the late afternoon, and thought about life and death and staying and moving and doctors and technology and my aging wardrobe and chocolate and the need to stare at the ocean.
Now, as I hold Winnie in the late afternoon, I think about her lips forming words, her eyes taking in the room and her ears the sounds, her hands grabbing for what’s just out of reach, the way her sudden smile becomes the best part of my day, and how much I don’t care when she spits up on any of my aging wardrobe. I remind myself to master the technology that allows me to visit with her when she returns home.
Staring at the ocean will always inspire me but right now I’d rather stare at Winnie. She, too, holds the peace and the wonder and the eternity that the ocean allows me to feel.
I can’t wait til she returns. I think I’ll have a piece of chocolate while I wait.