The seminal bonding event between my husband and my granddaughter took place on a sunny afternoon on Martha’s Vineyard. Garry and I were renting an adorable little house in Oak Bluffs. It had its own beach on Nantucket sound, on the inland side of Beach Road. For those of you that know the area, it was more or less behind the hospital.
It had two bedrooms, a generous open area for the kitchen, dining area and living room. It had a large screened porch and a wood-burning fireplace. A long wooden staircase let down to the water. We could afford it, which was amazing even back then, the best vacation deal we ever got.
For three years, we rented it for 4 weeks, 2 in June and 2 in September — off-season. Thus it was less expensive than it would have been during the “high summer” months of July and August. The house had heat, too, so in theory, they could have rented through most of the year, but they didn’t, closing it up at the beginning of October.
Kaity was little, just about a year old. We invited the kids down to join us.
Kaity was the baby who laughed. The first true sign of individuality was her sense of humor. She laughed. She cackled. She couldn’t quite talk, but she made jokes.
Garry hadn’t spent much time with The Baby until then. He was still working and his schedule was horrible. Even when he wasn’t working, he was so tired, he wasn’t in any condition to do much except sleep, watch a game (whatever team was playing), and maybe read the sports section. On the Vineyard, though, he relaxed. It was the only place he really took a deep breath and stopped stressing. He could turn off the beeper, remove the watch, and just chill.
We chilled together. Two weeks on the Vineyard and I could barely remember what I used to do before I got there. By the third day, I gave up wearing shoes. By the end of the first week, underwear. Long skirts, loose tops, no watch and the hours of the day were marked only by the movement of the sun.
And there we were, all on the lawn overlooking the sound. Kaity had a bunch of marshmallows. At some point she decided it would be a hilarious to stuff marshmallows up Garry’s nose. Remarkably, Garry let her, starting a tradition of giving Kaity anything she wants without question that continues to this day.
When she decided to suck the marshmallows off his nose, bonding was complete.
This has become a family story, told and retold at every family get-together for the past 15 years. Today, her mom found the photographic evidence. She showed them to Kaity, now 16, who rolled her eyes and said “OH GOD,” which seems to be what teenage girls say about baby pictures.
The pictures were taken on an automatic film camera by my daughter-in-law and they have faded badly over the years. I scanned them, then did what I could with Photoshop. Think of them as misty memories from the distant past.
1) Marshmallow ATTACK!
2) Mm, yummy!
3) That’s was GOOD!!
4) Grandma, do you like marshmallows too?
So now, let’s move forward in time, flipping through the pages of the calendar like the sleazy opening scene of a bad movie.
My, how they grow.
She still like marshmallows and her grandfather continues to adores her. Me too.