I steered her stroller off the path into the vintage carpet of crispy leaves, so she could hear the difference. The difference between the sound of wheels on the sidewalk, and wheels in wonderland.
When we got to the soccer field I steered up and over a grassy knoll away from the noisy traffic, then gently pulled her out so she could run free on the lush, still green – soccer field. She walked instead, because this Grandma put the wrong shoes on her feet.
Her hooded blue jacket fit pretty well, with one roll up on the sleeves, but the hood fell down and immediately the wind swooped her hair up and over her eyes. I couldn’t decide which was more wonderful, her halo of blonde curls spilling all over the sky, or the way her little hands so capably pushed her bangs off her face.
She looked around at the wide open spaces, and I looked at her. She gawked at a magpie hopping under a nearby tree, and I gawked at her. She bent down to feel the grass, and studied it between her fingers,and I… studied her.
When I thought my heart couldn’t feel anymore awestruck, she placed her doll like hands on her hips, slightly more to the small of her back, and plodded further on ahead as if she was pondering something very deep, or leading some presidential parade. What does a seventeen month old ponder, I wondered?
We arrived at a red gravel running track that was separated from the grass by a sturdy curb. I didn’t want her to fall so I asked her to wait for me, and to my delight she did. I positioned myself right in front of her and reached out both my hands for hers, as if I were escorting the queen down onto her red carpet.
I closed my eyes for a second and promised myself to remember the moment, because nothing holds a candle to feeling her ten petal soft fingers wrap around my wrinkled hands.
Then she jumped…..into my heart forever.