Tell Me A Story Grandma
“Tell me a story Grandma!” Bethany demanded as she bounced up and down on the squeakily protesting bed, the blankets and pillows in complete disarray across the pink expanse that was the mattress.
I paused in my absentminded tidying of her earlier discarded outside winter-wear and looked over, surprised.
The little brunette ended her bouncing by landing on her hands and knees, big brown eyes starring up at me as the bed let out it’s final and loudest protest. I finished hanging her coat in the closet before turning back to face the famously hard to resist Elker Family Puppy Dog Eyes. The first stage, complete with slightly pouting lower lip, would have made any other person melt in an instant and give the sweet little five year old whatever it was that she wanted.
“I’m immune to the Eyes, Bethie,” I told her, hiding my smile. “And I have been for years.”
She sat straight up on her knees. “But Grandma!” she protested, her voice taking on the slightest hint of a whine. “You never tell me stories! Daisy says her grandma reads her fairy tales and Maggie’s grandma sings her to sleep.”
“I’ve never had any talent for storytelling,” I tried to dissuade her gently. “Your mother even told me so when she was your age and I doubt that has changed in the last thirty years.”
“But Mommy and Uncle Josh are really good at it. People even pay them for their stories.”
She paused, her innocent eyes becoming wide as she said in a lowered voice, “Do I need to pay you too?”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her expression and I sat down on the bed next to her.
“You silly goose. You don’t have to pay me a thing. You’re mommy and Uncle Josh are very good storytellers. Some of the best, I think, but they certainly didn’t get their talent from me.”
“Where’d they get it from then?” she asked, tilting her head curiously and putting her hands on her hips.
I smiled gently at her serious expression. “They got it from their father. Your grandpa, but you never met him. He died long before you were born.”
I stood and pulled back the blankets, straightening them as I did so, and rearranged the pillows so they sat where they should. Bethany climbed under the blankets, but didn’t lay down.
I leaned down and gave her a kiss on her forehead, but as I straightened she took my hand and I found myself caught by a full-force Puppy Dog Eye attack. In a quiet, pleading voice she repeated her request.
“Tell me a story, Grandma.”
Those eyes met mine and in that instant, just like every time before it since the day she had been born, I saw him reflected in my granddaughter’s eyes. They were the same eyes that Lita and Josh had inherited from him.
My Michael’s eyes.
My own eyes softened and I sighed quietly, reseating myself on the pink and white bed.
“What story do you want to hear, darling?”
“A story about grandpa,” she said immediately.
I was taken back for a moment. I certainly hadn’t expected something like that. No fairy tales or princess or noble knights?
She pursed her lips. “Because I’ve never heard anyone talk about him ever. Not mommy or daddy or Uncle Josh or anybody! So tell me a story about him, grandma... please?”
I couldn’t help the small smile that escaped me as I nodded.
It was fine that my little Bethie didn’t catch the sadness that smile held as she snuggled down into the cocoon of warmth her bed provided. My eyes moved to the window just above my granddaughter’s head and watched the snow fall softly outside. I let my thoughts wanter back, back, back to those days before my children had even been thought of by anyone but God and when even the smallest details, by now completely forgotten, had seemed monumentally important in order for the world to keep turning and life on planet Earth to continue. Days that now seemed so simple and carefree.
And I let the words come with the memories...