My baby granddaughter makes my heart sing. Recently, after we had woken the toys, checked that they were cosy and arranged them on the lounge for their dose of morning TV, my granddaughter toddled to the window to greet the new day and check on her outside world.
With face and hands pressed against the glass, she studied the tranquil scene: the farm at its most becoming in this morning mix of sunlight and shadows … animals grazing, ducks on the pond, birds in flight, her dad in the tractor soundlessly ploughing the horizon, dogs carrying out their own farm inspections. All was entirely satisfactory.
Then, an idea occurred to her! Something out there had inspired enthusiastic and very specific action, involving a toy. Suddenly she was hunting purposefully through her toy box. Success! But then, to execute her plan, she needed Nanna’s help …
She was not yet two, but her communication strategies, though limited, were perfectly adequate. They included two words (baby and horsey), unambiguous pointing at the foal and its mother (barely discernible, in a distant paddock), fetching her means of transport in readiness (stroller), and an earnest appeal to me in animated gibberish, relevant toy tucked under her arm. She wanted to take her wooden push-along horse out to meet the new foal. She knew they would become instant, firm friends.
I was delighted to collaborate in her mission, and she was okay with my condition: we would need our hats.
On the way, she held her wooden horse close and rocked it, her delight bubbling over as she chatted to it and pointed out other delights of her world: the sheep who lined the fence in greeting as she passed, the guinea fowl resting in the shade of a mango tree, thethe eagles circling above, apparently aware that lambs were due to be born any day. Her happy anticipation of the meeting of treasured horses was sustained all the way.
The foal was busy feeding from its mother when we arrived, and seemed indifferent to the push-along horse, in my assessment — but what would I know? My granddaughter seemed confident that her introductions were successful and was happy for me to take a selfie of us to mark the occasion. I think her contentment is unmissable: it’s the joyful satisfaction of accomplishing a mission of the heart.
I love being her wing-Nan.