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Wednesdays With Ali
There is nothing on this earth I look forward to more than my weekly visits with my, just turned, six year old granddaughter. I can be in the worst mood, aching from head to toe, my Depression threatening to pull me under for the third time but one look into those innocent smiling eyes and I melt into a receptive vessel waiting to be filled with delight.
We play when she comes to visit, it’s a given. She knows when she comes to Ga and PaPa’s house there will be fun times and lots of love and attention. As love is given, so is it received and she lavishes us with hugs and wet kisses on our cheeks, even for her unshaven grandpa.
We each play a different role in her life. Grandpa sneaks her chocolate before meals and tells her in a theatrical stage whisper not to tell Ga. She always brings it to me to show what he’s given, sometimes still in her hand and sometimes by the big telltale smile on her face and then the gross opening of her mouth. Grandpa also says such outrageous things that she has learned to check with me before she buys any of his stories. He is her favorite audience for the new moves she learned at Tae Kwon Do and he is the retriever of her ball when it bounces out of our hands and under the back porch into the deep hole the dogs have dug for a great cool place to lay on a hot summer day. His arms are long and with the rake he never fails to retrieve the ball and is rewarded with a huge hug and a hurried thank-you so we can get back to our game.
Grandpa seldom moves from his chair in front of the t.v. and so she will wander into the living room and watch a Bogart movie with him questioning if that’s a good guy or a bad guy, does he like the pretty lady, does he know Sponge Bob is probably on the other channel if he gets bored watching the Bo-grute movie. Once she’s satisfied he is not lonely she bounds back to me and reports on what he’s doing, sometimes running back to give a forgotten hug.
She and I have tea parties with her stuffed animals and make collars for them with the never ending supply of ribbon from the basket of craft items I keep. Usually she will spy a newly added item and ask, “Oh, what should we make with this great”; string of buttons, small squares of wallpaper samples, beads from broken jewelry, macaroni that needs painted and glued to a box or sheet of paper … it is a bottomless treasure trove worth at least an hour of creativity for us. We have the most fabulous jewelry, all hand made, some hand painted and we wear it when we go to the library or to the tiny grocery store here in town to buy a special treat of fresh fruit, a pastry or on occasion, candy.
She loves to paint, color and now draw. We have a very limited budget and she and I usually find treasures for our crafts at a thrift store and a trip there is when we learn to look at things in a new light. Discarded and donated strings of yarn, one earring, a bag full of used greeting cards are all brought home and given new lives in various forms of whatever our imagination makes them.
One area in which I have no talent is drawing. I seriously can not draw a straight line with a ruler and since she loves to draw, I found a delightful and inexpensive book that allows me to draw almost as well as my Ali. This man is a genius who must surely have published his books for inept grandmas. His name is Ed Emberley and he has published a whole line of books showing how to draw. We have his finger print book and it is as much fun as cotton candy at the county fair … well almost. All you do is press your finger down on an ink pad and then add the squiggles and lines that he illustrates and Presto-Change-O you have created a Lady Bug, a caterpillar, a train … oh it is endless. I have improved so much that one of my drawings reached refrigerator status along side my granddaughter’s pictures.
I have an enclosed front porch so full of toys (mostly stuffed animals) that the UPS man asked if I run a daycare. We could play with any number of wonderful toys, and do occasionally, but most times they are integrated into our play as an audience in the case of stuffed animals or as part of a play we are acting out as Veterinarians in the case of horses that refuse to stand up on the crooked floor of our porch.
While enjoying a cup of hot cocoa, my granddaughter’s favorite time is looking through the many scrapbooks I made of her from age birth until I lapsed, around her fourth year. She loves to hear the stories that go with each picture and is amazed that a woman who can’t find her glasses that are either on her head or hanging from her shirt, can have such a vivid memory of each detail of her growing up. She is too young to understand that each minute is etched in my heart and is so easily recalled and gladly shared.
Too soon, she is picked up by her parents and we get delicious “loves” in the form of hard squeezes, more kisses and the promise of, “Don’t worry. I’ll be back next Wednesday!” I will take as many Wednesdays with Ali as God allows and with all of the memory making we are doing, I hope that after I’m gone she will have a granddaughter with whom she can spend days as precious as the ones we do now.
- Amazon.com: Ed Emberley's Complete Funprint Drawing Book (9780316174480): Ed Emberley: Books
Amazon.com: Ed Emberley's Complete Funprint Drawing Book (9780316174480): Ed Emberley: Books