Schlepping through a maize of taxis I saw what appeared to be the Millers’ car.  “So glad you’re here,” called Caryn. I placed my suitcase in the trunk and had taken a seat in back when Stuart got more to the point: “Wait ‘til you see that boy of ours! You’re not going to believe it!”

(We were still a half hour from Max).

I couldn’t wait Wednesday. Couldn’t wait to see that smile…those shiny slate eyes …that eleven month, debonair prince…couldn’t wait. And so, thirty minutes post-airplane, I bounded from the elevator as Meredith’s mom announced words I hadn’t heard in two months: “We’re here!”

Infrequent visits, (as frequent as they are), yield a special dynamic. Not having the luxury, as others do, of seeing my grandson on a daily basis, I watch him grow geometrically. He’s never a day older; it’s usually a month…or more. I marvel at his growth, in spurts.

And so it was that I walked through the door and found not the crawling Prince of this past summer, but a little boy sitting peacefully, playing with toys, looking up…and waving hello. Max Parker Bogart—waving hello—to me. I melted.

My mind, of course, took many pictures last weekend.

There was the one from the downtown park (the day we met Lev and Judah). So convinced was Meredith that I’d not fit down the slide, she made me do a dry run first. And there was the shot from the other park, (where we met Kay and Ilya). Another slide, another look, another laugh.

Not all photos were still, of course. Mental video remains of the debate about Max’s college.

“Michael wouldn’t have a problem with it if Max went to Michigan,” claimed Mer. Squirming, I rejoined “If he wants to go that route, what about Stanford?”

In a conversation arguably premature we then ruled out Virginia, Colgate and our friends in Happy Valley. (Some sixteen years pre-decision, FYI, I’m leanin’ to Princeton).

It was a trip replete with the promise of activities and the observance of holiday…of both old family and new friends. And Max.

(It strikes me, I might add, that the joy engendered by this bundle of boy might seem overstated; it’s not. There is a vitality to grandparenting that survives distance and outlives lack of contact. It’s called love).

He’s eleven months—that’s all. Cameo appearances, to be sure go only so far. Still, while for him they are hints of relationship to follow, for me they are anchors I cling to.

And images…

Of a family, surrounding a dinner table, clapping in unison to a shining boy…and of the lad, clapping back with a transcontinental smile. Everyone’s cheering.

And of breaking the fast, a day later. It is the same crowd, only bigger, and Max is showing off:

“Open, shut them; open, shut them,” we direct as the bambino, arms erect as if to signal a successful field goal, opens and shuts his fists. (Funny how if your kid does this it’s nice but when your grandchild does, it’s Olympic!)

And of watching intently as the little one, eyes wide open, tries his first blueberry.

‘Tis an unwritten law of Max’s being that major steps ensue the moment I leave town. Was it only last June I begged him to crawl (and he did as I touched down in Cleveland)? Perhaps.

It matters not. I know only that each trip east adds a brick to the mortar of family we all treasure. I know further that today’s cameos are tomorrow’s diamonds.

And for this I am grateful.

         “I spent a week away from you last night.”


One Response to “PICTURE”

  1. Stacy says:

    I’m so jealous of you! I miss that boy. 🙁 Great writing and what a lucky grandson you have.

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