It's been a busy weekend. William helped me work in the garden. We planted the rest of my seeds: watermelon, summer squash, zucchini, cantelope. I took shovels of compost and made hills to plant the seeds, and we worked together, planting them. I began shoveling more compost, looked over, and there was William talking a blue streak to himself, wielding my hoe, and uncovering the seeds we had just planted. Made me laugh.
When he got tired of planting, he ran, and called back over his shoulder, "I running, Memaw!" He kicked his soccer ball, and called back, "I kick da ball, Memaw!" When he grows up, he's surely going to be a twitter fanatic.
We went into the house and had lunch, just the two of us. Grandpa had some family obligations, and for the first time, William took his leaving quite hard. He cried, and he said, "Grandpa, I love you!" as Tim carried things to the car. Grandpa might be a strong, silent type, but I noticed that before he left, he knelt down and gave William a kiss and a hug, and told him that he loved him too.
We settled down in the living room with our lunch, and I plugged in Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit and Friends, a BBC children's show, and the familiar gentle story of Peter Rabbit filled the room.
It was the same story that my mother read to me as a child, in my little bedroom with the white bed with the red animal silhouettes marching across the footboard, long before the days of video. In turn, I read the stories to my own children as they grew, and we watched the series on PBS. Now I was watching the same stories come to life with my own grandson
I was folding laundry and William watched Peter. He knows what a garden is and that Mr. McGregor was working with a hoe. When he began to chase Peter, William cried, "Oh no!" and he came to me and sat in my lap, where he remained, leaned against me. I breathed in the sweet smell of a little boy's hair, savored the weight of him cuddled to me. He called out, "Run!" and "The bunny is stuck," with wide eyes.
The sweetness of the theme song seemed to underscore the sweetness of that moment, and I sat quietly with the tears rolling. I am a sap, a sook, of the worst caliber. I have him one day a week, and in that 24 hours, I try to fill it with all the sweetness that I can, with Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh, with bathtime and bubbles, and balls, and running, and wooden fire trucks and jumping on the bed, with songs about five little monkeys swinging in trees.There are wagon rides and working in the garden. There is cuddling and the 'I love you's' flow fast and furious.
I have learned from experience that these years will go by all too quickly.
Before I know it, it will be William's turn, and he will be the one reading Peter Rabbit to his children. Or watching on whatever they will watch things on in the future. Who knows? But I can only hope that his own eyes will grow distant and remembering when he hears the theme song, and I hope that he will remember the grandma who tried her best to give him perfect days.