I woke this morning with a basket full of seeds and a head full of plans for where I’d plant them all. Sunflowers on the west side of my kitchen garden. Corn, peas, zucchini, squash and pickling cucumbers to the left of the greenhouse. Shasta Daisies to the right of my brick path, in the spot the cats have claimed for their own. Maybe if a thick cluster of daisies grew there, they’d stop rolling in my dirt.
I saw myself pulling back the earth, and plunking those hope-filled seeds … just as I do most every spring. And that was the plan for this windy-but-sunny day.
And then, a boy comes along.
“Grandma, hold you.”
Are there three more beautiful words?
I drop my trough, and lift the boy, and hold him close.
“Do you know that Grandma loves you?” I ask.
“Love you,” he says back, dropping his head to my willing shoulder.
We stand for a long minute next to the row of many-scented mint plants I’ve planted below our living room window. I planned to add a fat pot of licorice mint to the collection, but that will have to wait until all the holding and I-love-you’s have run their course.
We move to the porch swing. That’s where we end up on most days like this. That’s where his dad and I would land, when he was a boy just this same size. That’s where we still settle, on days when talking is needed.
“What’s that?” Gage asks, a scant few seconds into our swinging.
“That’s a motorcycle up on the road,” I answer.
He accepts my explanation.
“What’s that?” he asks again.
“That’s Grandpa’s air compressor.”
He looks toward the shed, where his grandpa is fiddling.
And then the wind, which has been teasing all morning, begins to show itself seriously.
He tilts his head as if to comply.
“Do you hear the wind? Look at the how the trees are bending.”
He looks at the thundering plum across the lawn and watches its magenta leaves rippling in the unseen force.
“Hear the chimes?” I ask.
He looks at the music above our heads, and watches one silver tube clanging melodically against the others.
We watch together, and listen, and then I ask him, “Do you know who made the wind?”
He shakes his head.
“Jesus,” I say.
“Jesus,” he repeats.
I look down at his beautiful eyes — the shape of which he got from his father; the ice-blue color from his mother. I look at the curve of his cheek, the whorl of his cowlick, the tilt of his nose. And I think for the thousandth time how much emptier my life would be without this child, and how much less I would love my time on this earth without him.
“Do you know who made you?” I ask.
He shakes his head again.
“Jesus made you,” I say.
“Jesus,” he repeats. And a seed drops from my hand.
“And do you know why He made you?”
My grandson looks up at me, waiting for the answer to his existence.
“Because He loves me.”