She bounces into the cottage kitchen first thing in the morning, white-blonde baby hair frizzed by sleep into dreads and ringlets. Her pyjamas are a pink flannel one-piece. My granddaughter.
Although she has wakened all of us an hour earlier than I usually get up, my heart races when I see her on this new summer day. Anticipation floods me. I open my arms and she runs toward me.
I know that one day this pattern will change, but for now 2 yr.old Amelia Charis runs into my arms every time we greet each other.
With my widest grin and raised brows I bend down and scoop her up so that we’re face to face, with her whole length flat against my chest and belly. She clasps my upper arms as far round as her baby arms can reach, and tucks her head inbetween my neck and shoulder. I feel our bodies, so disparate, melting into each other’s warmth. Her relaxation is as complete as mine. I stand motionless as she lies against me in a full embrace, both of us lost in the feeling. For some reason, she doesn’t squirm in my arms to be put back down on her toddler feet, feet that have already learned the pleasure of running and dancing.
She is still.
I close my eyes so that I can focus on sensation. Quietly, I hum and murmur tunelessly, rocking a bit. I whisper, “I love you, Amelia”.
It feels like prayer to me.
Eventually, she lifts her head to look into my face. Our eyes meet and we gaze full on, soul to soul. I drink in her perfect, fresh-born face haloed by wisps of blonde, her flawless complexion and clear blue eyes. I forget what she is seeing, skin that blotches and sags, and my aged eyes.
She doesn’t turn away.
I wonder what she’s thinking.
Wordless, we hold each other and look long at love personified.