I wake in the morning knowing it is the last day, after more than a week of days, with our grandson Luke who celebrates his birthday today. I try to chase the sadness away and fight the tears that threaten to spill from my eyes.
“There you are,” I say as his mother carries him down the stairs and into the dining room where I work on my computer. “Good morning!” I say as I have said for all these days.
He looks at me and smiles his brightness. I wonder if he will look for me tomorrow.
The morning passes quickly. Diapers, bottle, breakfast, books, puzzles, cars. Time for a nap. Party preparations occupy our minutes.
The guests arrive; lunch is served; a single candle lit.
I take one last quick hug and a kiss, brush my fingers across his soft cheek, then turn and walk away to hide my tears. My son gives me comfort in a hug on the drive. We get in the car where our bag and cooler of food and drinks replace the car seat with Luke on our outings and trip to the zoo. We drive away, down the street where I pushed Luke in his stroller.
The car engine moves the wheels that carry us away, minutes then hours, miles and miles.
I can still hear his soft voice saying “book?” with a hopeful look towards the shelf lined with colorful titles of thick-paged stories.
I turn my thoughts to home where my garden, books, music, and little white dog wait for me. Have the trees of our woods changed color this week?
At 4:00 I wonder if Luke got his afternoon nap on this busy birthday party day.
I can still feel his little arms clasp my legs as I sit on the sofa, wanting me to lift him up onto my lap.
I think about the seasons and wonder if I should get out Halloween decorations. Probably not this year. There are no children or grandchildren home to see them, and the long private drive deters the neighborhood children from trick-or-treating. Maybe just a fall table runner and “Give Thanks” sign. Perhaps an uncarved pumpkin beside a pot of mums.
It’s 8:00 and I wonder if Luke has gone to bed in his little soft sleeper with the zipper from ankle to neck. I can still hear his little bedtime chatter through the intercom as he talks himself to sleep in words only he understands.
I think about how happy Arthur will be to see me.
We pull in our driveway and a little furry white head pops into the window of the door and then darts away. Arthur waits for us at the door to the garage.
We’ve left a world of hugs and kisses, laughs and baby chatter, books and puzzles.
We’re back in our world of quiet, peace, and photographs in picture frames.
I’ll listen to my music in the morning as I read my books and work, Arthur asleep on the pillow by the window.
Two and a half months until Christmas.