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A Clutch Of Pearlies: A Grandson Called Eden

...Eden turned his smile on in his seventh week (three days according to his daddy) and he hasnít stopped since. Actually I would call it more of a grin than a smile. And Eden is not selective about the recipients of his benevolence; old, young, beautiful, ugly, everyone and everything in his line of sight gets a big dose. My theory about that radiant grin is that he is expanding his approval to the world around him...

Mary Pearl conveys the unmatchable joy of being a grandmother.

I have this little grandson called Eden. He arrived 11 months ago looking serious and earnest as if he was checking us out and getting a hang on his new surroundings. He wasnít being judgemental or anything, just curious, as you are when youíre brand new to a place. It took weeks of surveillance but Eden must have approved of his little world; he smiles. And Eden communicates now, including his whole family in the conversation: na da, ma da, and giggle giggle; and he bounces when you hold him upright. What a child!

Eden was born with a shock of black hair and has what we used to call piano fingers long and fine and supple; an indicator to both his paternal and maternal grandfathers who are very musical themselves that itís a sign of harmonious things to come. Family and friends sat around the hospital bed checking out the new born arrival and there were a lot of comparisons happening: the grandfatherís expression, the motherís eyes and what long legs for a baby. He's going to be tall like his daddy.

In the past couple of months Edenís hair has gone from black to a lovely reddish hue that he gets from his dad. Certain favourable comparisons were made regarding receding hairlines. Everyone was satisfied to find a bit of themselves in Eden.

Eden turned his smile on in his seventh week (three days according to his daddy) and he hasnít stopped since. Actually I would call it more of a grin than a smile. And Eden is not selective about the recipients of his benevolence; old, young, beautiful, ugly, everyone and everything in his line of sight gets a big dose. My theory about that radiant grin is that he is expanding his approval to the world around him.

Eden is my third grandchild and people ask if Iím feeling blasť about it all. I say Iím just as excited this time round. Children are like the poppies I used to bring home each Spring and put in a vase. Every morning one or two buds would slowly open and reveal their colours to me. It gave me more of a high than that first vital caffeine fix in the morning.

Sometimes a long distant childhood memory allows us to decode a grandchildís expression but sometimes they will do or say things that seem to come out of left field that, unsurprisingly, can surprise. Children are a mix of their maternal and paternal genes, a combination of parents and extended family, each combination will take them further away from the original. Dezzy has an artistic flair and a sense of order that she doesnít get from me and luckily for them, my grandchildren donít inherit their grandmotherís dour, pessimistic mindset and her sense of direction.

Itís exciting now that I have the time and the energy, to watch my darling buds slowly opening to reveal their colours. Rachel has turned six. She has her daddyís curly hair and loving personality. She also has a stubborn streak that I canít trace to anyone, perhaps a throwback somewhere in time. The good thing is that if we appeal to her reason or ask for understanding she shows a kind heart. Dezzy is fiercely loyal to all things family and loving like her dad. Weíre watching her heading towards those teenage years faster than you can say watch out, early bloomer on the horizon. I am counting on her strength of character to allow her to pass through that phase unscathed.

I love being a grandma itís a job that suits me like no other, the only profession where old age is actually a requirement. I will never be a matriarch like a friend who has four children and three grandchildren already and more anticipated. But Iím doing all right. I have found my niche. Grandchildren think that wrinkles equate with wisdom and the good thing is that given a good dictionary and the capacity to love unconditionally thereís not much you can do wrong to disillusion them.

Itís a freeing experience to finally leave the responsibilities behind and have fun anticipating the event without the discomfort of the pregnancy. I love not having to work my sleep schedules in with bawling babies and I am grateful that the constant worries arenít mine about what kinder and which school and how to afford them. Best of all, it is nice to know that old age has some perks.

We used to play a game when I was little. We sat around in a circle chanting, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief. We were trying to predict our futures. I have this little grandson called Eden. I canít predict what he will make of the world or what the world will make of him, but I hope he keeps on smiling.

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