I was walking back home, after more than an hour of being in the woods. It was October, and the day was warm for fall standards.
For me, the woods are always dark and deep. Quiet and still, except for the birds that chirp and dart from one tree to another. Sometimes, they just choose to perch on a branch and stay comfortably there for what feels like ever.
As I came out of the woods and entered a paved road, I noticed a little battalion walking towards the woods. A grandpa with a bunch of grandchildren, it looked like. The boys were jumping around, two of them holding grandpa’s hands. I couldn’t take my eyes off this group. I could feel the love and warmth they exuded. I continued to do what I do when I encounter such scenes. Keep looking and fill up my heart with their happy emotions.
The grandpa looked content. One of the boys sported a mischievous grin. So mischievous that I couldn’t but pay him more attention than the others. As soon as he understood that I was paying attention, his grin turned to a near laugh though I couldn’t hear the sound of it. ‘Maybe he chuckled’, I thought.
I told my husband, who was walking alongside, that the little one was up to something. “The grandpa probably knew it, but he was playing along”, I suggested.
That’s when I noticed the boy with the mischievous grin stick something behind the grandpa’s t-shirt. Within seconds, we passed them and I turned to see what it was. Dried thistle flowers or Burdock burrs, as they are called, not just one or two, but a handful of them neatly stuck behind grandpa’s t-shirt!
I stole a glance at the grandpa who greeted us as we passed them. His smile was beautiful and he seemed blissful in the company of the little ones. I turned to look at them disappear into the woods and caught the little boy turn and look at me. More grinning and more mischief in his eyes!
The moment and the discovery brought alive the granddaughter in me. I suddenly thought about my grandpa who left us two years ago. I am almost 43 and I had my grandpa till I was 41. He was 100 when he left for the light. I have 41 years of memories with him, or a few years less, considering I don’t remember the first few years. Does one feel enough about the love of grandparents? I surely don’t.
I am grateful for all the beautiful times I have had with my grandparents, but I wonder what it would be to have them for a few more years. Would it make me feel younger?
My maternal grandpa was the last of my grandparents to leave. When he left, I felt the grandchild in me become less important. I felt that the grandchild in me started fading away, slowly.
One of the happiest moments that I would recall is a particular situation in which my grandpa had to introduce me to a third person. A neighbor, or someone visiting. He would proudly introduce me by saying, “She is my granddaughter.” After I became a mother, and after the responsibilities of being a parent weighed me down, ‘she is my granddaughter’ made me feel lighter and younger.
Now, years after he left me, it’s moments like the one in the woods, unexpected encounters with other grandfathers that would bring back memories of time spent with my own.