One of the great joys of life is grandchildren. It's kind of like Rent-A-Kid -- you get to have them and play with them for awhile, then when you're tired of them, just send them back!
My granddaughter spent the night with me on Thursday. (A rather pleasant start for the new year.) As we've been doing since she was about three, we pulled out the old featherbed to make a comfy little nest on the floor behind the desk in my bedroom. She arranged her bed (as has become tradition) with a sleeping bag, a big comforter, a soft blanket, about ten pillows and about twenty stuffed toys. The water bottle and flashlight have to be placed just so.
Then she snuggled down into that nest "snug as a bug in a rug". And I turned off the computer, letting the long list of to-do's-not-done slip out of my mind for just awhile. I climbed into my bed and settled in with Rosie, my cat. We put on our chosen movie for the evening and watched Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow sailing the Caribbean on the fabled "Black Pearl".
After the movie, we said "Good night, sleep tight." and lights out. I snuggled down into my bed and Rosie climbed on top of my side and started her contented purr.
Then a little voice in the dark, "Grandma, who's your favorite movie star?"
"Oh, I guess Johnny Depp." (First to come to mind, but -- yeah -- I do like him.)
"Uh-huh, I like him too. I like Orlando Bloom."
"Well, he's good too."
"And I like Viggo Mortensen"
So we went through the whole Hollywood roster, establishing a hierarchy of which we like and the order we'd rank them. We pretty much agree on the choices.
When that topic was exhausted (but not my little girl), it was: "Grandma, what's your favorite movie?"
So we went through the obvious ones, like "Gone With The Wind", "Titanic", "Lord Of The Rings". Each one would trigger a memory of another, and pretty soon I was thinking of movies I hadn't thought of in years. The thing that made it more interesting was that she's seen a surprising number of those and can discuss them very intelligently.
Next we got onto the subject of music. "Grandma, what's your favorite Beatles song?"
"I guess "Hard Day's Night" or "I Want To Hold Your Hand" ... "
She named four or five that she likes. Then, "What's your favorite Frankie Valli song? Mine's "Big Girls Don't Cry"."
"Yeah, I guess that's mine too."
"Grandma, what's your favorite Perry Como song?"
"Well, Kid, you got me there ..."
"Mine's "Catch a Falling Star".
And we went on and on. She'd sing a little phrase and ask "Do you know that?" And then I'd sing a little tune for her. And, by George!, she knows most of them! She knows every singer and band from The Andrews Sisters to a bunch of wierdos that are popular now but that I've never heard of. (Now I'm entitled to call them "wierdos" because I'm the Grandma. My grandma thought the Beatles and Frankie Valli were wierdos. And, besides, she wouldn't enjoy them half as much if I didn't call them wierdos.)
But I digress ... my point is that, it seems pretty clever to me for an 11-year-old to know every song and every musician back to the dark ages of the 40s. In fact, she can go back further than that. She knows her Beethovan from her Bach, and Schubert from Chopin. (Well, I'm entitled to brag because I'm the Grandma. I told you there were a lot of perks to grandma-hood!)
We stayed awake until 2 a.m., talking and singing, snuggled in our cozy beds in the darkened bedroom. The next morning I had to get up at my usual time because I had work to do. But she slept in until noon. I worked as quietly as possible, since her little nest was right behind my computer desk. Every so often, I'd peek over the top of my monitor to see her sleeping peacefully -- like a little angel.
The things that will stay with you in your life are not so much the big momentous occasions, but the small spontaneous times when the planets seem to line up in a perfectly harmonious configuration and all's right with your world and you can bask in a sweet feeling of connection with someone you love.