Preparing

She comes into the house, suitcase in tow, little face aglow at spending a couple of nights while her parents keep doctor’s appointments. She hugs them good-bye and before they’re halfway down the sidewalk, she grabs my hand:

“Franna, want to play with me?”

Isn’t there only one answer to this question?

“Of course! What do you want to play?”

“Family.”

Ah.

We head to “her” room, where I keep books and blocks and bears and dolls and even a couple of old baby blankets for wrapping them. She’s always the mom. I am always the oldest child. I have to help her hold, feed, and potty-train the toys…er, my siblings.

“First I need to unpack,” she announces.

“Okay,” I say, as she unzips her suitcase, navy-blue with pink and white unicorns. “So, tomorrow we find out if you’re having a brother or sister! Isn’t it exciting?”

She nods: “I want a sister.”

“I know you do…but a brother would be nice, too” (because her parents and I think the baby is a boy).

She nods again, pulling a couple of stuffed animals out of her suitcase. She sets them on the bed. “Mama told me to be happy if it’s a boy.”

I am about to speak but just then, I notice something…

She’s brought Allioop, the raggedy orange cat that belonged to my son when he was little. She’s dressed him in Curious George’s T-shirt. He leans against the pillow beside a woolly bear sporting a pastel nightcap.

Allioop and the bear are wearing diapers.

“Did you put these diapers on your toys?”

“Yes. I’m practicing for the baby. Watch…” She shows me how to remove and replace the diapers with their little Velcro tabs.

Strikes me as one of the greatest acts of love I’ve seen.

Preparing.

Her parents FaceTimed to tell us that the new baby is, in fact, a girl.
My granddaughter, who’s five, bounced up and down with joy:
“My wish came true!”
She later told my son that she can’t wait to teach her sister the word “photosynthesis.”

Dear Baby, what a wealth of love surrounds you, already.

*******

with thanks to the Two Writing Teachers community for the weekly Slice of Life Story Challenge.

24 thoughts on “Preparing

  1. Oh congrats!!! Another granddaughter on the way. How lucky both girls are to have Franna in their lives! What a joyful read today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love so much about this post–playing “family”, the continuity of favorite toys from one generation to the next, the learning of essential parenting skills disguised as play. Our second child was planned by our first, who announced that we needed another baby in the house, and it should be a boy. She got her wish, too. At Christmas, when I was four months along, Santa brought a baby doll of her own–American Girl’s Bitty Baby, complete with a wicker Moses basket, matching suitcase, and layette. The baby is still tucked away in her closet, waiting to be passed down one day. Thanks for the wistful smile, Fran.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah – one day that doll will be much loved by another little one, Chris. It just seems to come suddenly, even after having been wistful for so long. Love these stories and your always-thoughtful comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my, congratulations, Fran! To you and your granddaughter and the whole family! This is truly a slice of love. Absolutely precious! Such beautiful moments of play, together. “I am practicing for the baby.” – Love that!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely slice, what a joy, the promise of new life! And what a precious relationship you and your granddaughter have and how it will grow into the future, along with the new family addition! Love the thought of playing family together. All my grandchildren are boys and they just don’t do stuff the same way!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Every day is an adventure with this little girl – I cannot even imagine how exponentially that will be with two! New baby girl is due in late October. Exciting times around here – and thank you so much.

      Like

  5. “Isn’t there only one answer to this question?” Yes. One answer to that question indeed. I love these moments of the Franna time, the conversations where she gives you these beautiful nuggets of how she perceives the world around her…just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. First of all, I love your name “Franna.” I have two new grandchildren and my youngest daughter is sure I need a name different from grandma. I’m quite fine with grandma, but she’s determined. If she could come up with a cool name like Franna, I might be up for it.

    What a sweet exchange you’ve shared. The way you let the conversation tell the story made me feel like I was right in the room with the two of you. I think she’s going to be a great big sister!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do love my grandma name, “Franna” – a friend of mine vinyled it on some T-shirts for me. Too fun! Maybe these grandbabies of yours will come up with something special of their own – I know Gagas and Gigis – at any rate, here’s to savoring every moment with the little ones! We cannot wait for our new baby to arrive here, sometime in late October.

      Like

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