My granddaughter wears the delightful name, CharleeRose. I call her Chuck. Or Bug. She is almost three years old and totally fearless, like her father. She runs, jumps, tumbles, and if she goes airborn she is confident that her Opa will catch her. If she stumbles and falls, or crashes into something solid, which happens often enough, she rarely cries. “I tough cookie,” she says.
CharleeRose loves to come over to OmaOpa House in OmaOpa Car. “Opa Cra car white?” she always asks, as if to check the world is as she left it yesterday. “Daddy car blue.” It is a fact, dependable, certain. “Opa drive?” The world is consistent. The world is good. When she knows she is coming to our house she waits by the front door of hers, hugging her coat. CharleeRose loves to go anywhere, anytime, but OmaOpa House is special. The fun place.
Her favorite thing is blocks. We have Duplos and we have soft blocks. The first thing she says when she comes in the door is, “Opa blocks?” We dutifully bring them out, one set or the other, her choice, then dump them on the livingroom floor. She loves to build them up and then knock them down. Unlike her brother at that age, she actually builds. She likes it best if I am down on the floor with her, building. We make Duplo towers as tall as she is, and when they fall she hands me some and says, “Try again!”
If I am slow to join her on the floor, she says, “Opa blocks” not as a question but as a command. It means, “Play with me.” Opa always does. But for awhile, I couldn't. I had hip replacement surgery in December and for several weeks I did not dare to get down on the floor with her. It was too hard to get down and impossible to get up again. Bug was disappointed but she shouldered on. She was delighted when I could get down on the floor again.
For my comfort, I would take a pillow off the couch and set it on the floor. I did this every time and do it still. The other day I was too slow joining her, so she said her command, “Opa blocks!” But first, she took the pillow off the couch and set it down for me.
This may seem a normal jesture, but when your grandchild does it for t he very first time your heart swells. Not that it takes much where my Bug is concerned. She has me wrapped around her little finger and I'm pretty sure she knows it. Still, it was genuine kindness in her soul that I saw in that pillow. After all, she didnlt have to do that, she just did. She didn't have to win my heart. She had me at “I tough cookie.”
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..