I am watching my niece, Camille. She is two.
She walks around outside, picking blackberries, filling her pockets with lavender flowers, and following the older cousins everywhere. As she comes around a corner she sees Grandfather, sitting at the children’s picnic table with a few bites of mouth-watering berry crisp left on his plate. She makes her way toward him, making no effort to hide her intentions. “Me, pie?” Yes, of course he shares with her. And then he tenderly wipes raspberry juice off her little face. Watching them together reminds me of my girls when they were tiny — and the way Grandfather would talk with them and help them, always sitting or kneeling to be at their level.
A few minutes later, Camille emerges from the house, dressed for the fashion runway, cluching Grandmommy’s hand. Camille stands still while we all admire her, and after all the “oohing and ahhing” she reaches back for Grandmommy’s hand and goes inside. She comes out again, in a completely different ensemble. And then again. And again — each time attached to Grandmommy, her personal fashion consultant. This too, reminds me of my girls, dressing up in the treasures from Grandmommy’s collection — a seemingly bottomless chest of thrifted clothes and accessories.
My girls still like to dress up, but they no longer need to hold Grandmommy’s hand to walk in high heels.