Exuding joy. Aren’t we overdue?

I quietly sit at my Vermont Butternut writing desk early this day. A welcome steady rain falls outside my studio window. The woods, green and lush. A morning to ponder by the warm glow of my grandfather’s “vintage” desk lamp. “Vintage” felt uncomfortably familiar this gray morning. A small face with expressive brown eyes peeks around my word document as I type. A recent photo of my 10-month-old granddaughter not yet saved on my laptop lines the outside left border. A precious face greets me. A visual reminder of how she is never far from my thoughts.

Pure joy. Joyful. Exuding joy comes quite naturally to this little human. I have been hard pressed and have struggled to find the joy in our world during the past many pandemic months with the paralleling political turmoil filling our news daily. She is that reminder of what is good in the world. She giggles easily while she says “dada” and whispers “mama.” Delights in discovering her toes while shaking her head “no.” Bath time, hilarious. A grace filled smile appears easily and frequently.  Innocence and trust expressed with each eager glance. Spontaneity. Exuberance. The best of her two loving parents.  She possesses something special. All children do. Living solely in the moment. The sweet spot in the art of living. A unique and exquisite gift delivered by children of all cultures, shapes, sizes, and ages. The appreciative beauty of children.

My daughter and I frequently share the many magical moments throughout any given day with baby Belle. Conversations center around new developmental milestones. A silly expression captured in a photo. New foods she has tried. Observed discoveries while she navigates her world. An ample supply of videos that supplement our in-person visits. Viewed more times than I care to count. Apple must be very happy with my “new grandparent” record-breaking screen time. I cannot resist stopping whatever I am doing to see a new photo on my phone. Responding to my daughter immediately if not sooner. Patient family and friends indulge me as I share the countless images. This is old hat for many of them, but they are gracious to this new Gram. Grateful.

My shopping obsessions have dramatically changed from sweaters and running shoes to all things “baby.” I suspect I will always be looking for that perfect running ride and a classic cashmere sweater will always catch my eye, but nothing brings a more satisfying feeling than imagining a new “perfect something” for Belle. Pink sparkle sneakers have been ordered with delightfully inspired guess work. First walkers. Hoping they will hold her in good stead. My daughter and I chat about the potential shoe and sandal options or lack thereof. Belle’s little perfect square feet will be a shoe challenge now and forever. A genetic reminder of a great grandmother she will never know but who lives on through this beautiful baby. My daughter’s nose. My son-in-law’s smile. Brown eyes from both. Generations realized.

She is blissfully unaware of the pandemic, political strife, and global warming. Anger and hatred too. I wish I could provide her with a safety bubble as I wished for my children too. Her small world thrills her. I hope the larger one will too…

                           “Hey, I’ve got nothing to do today but smile” Paul Simon



Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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