It was her idea from the get-go, but I was more than willings, it being Easter. Besides, lately it seems I haven't been getting enough sweet time with my granddaughter.
"You take my picture," she said, "and we'll put it on a card to send to Great-Grandma Schaap."
Sheesh--Easter brings out the best in us maybe? She's getting to the age when Grandpa is an old pair of argyle socks. I'm all go on this one.
Outside we go. I take a few, show them to her, but she doesn't like 'em. Too much wind, she said. Her hair was messy. Cute as a bug's ear, my father used to say. They're all plenty good.
Downstairs we go, out of the wind. The girl knows how to pose, believe me, but that's my fault, taking pictures of her constantly.
We bring 'em up on the computer. To her, not one of them is perfect, of course, but I can excuse that; after all, no picture is, if you're the one in it.
And then it comes out. She's seen that Microsoft commercial in which some three-year-old slaps together a panorama of her whole bedroom, takes the shots, processes them, and prints the whole thing. It bugs my grandaughter that she's twice the kid's age and nowhere near as savvy. Part of this is sheer grudge. But do I care?--she's on my lap.
She likes the same shot I do, so we don't have a problem. I get the picture up, give her a bit of sun tan, which she likes, and then she says, "Can you take this thing off?" There's a slight tan-ish mole on her cheek, hardly visible, her grandpa thinks; but the little fart is smart enough to know that the computer does skingrafts.
Done. Now her grandpa thinks this whole idea is almost Easter-like in its selflessness. All of it for Great-Grandma Schaap, who otherwise, I'm thinking, hardly gets the time of day, way out east in Wisconsin. What a granddaughter I've got.
So I'm getting the card stock out and outfitting the printer, when she says, "Can you whiten my teeth?"
I'm not kidding. She's eight. Just. And she wants her teeth whitened? Lillies of the field come into bloom, straight out of scripture. I'm thinking there ought to be a lesson there, even a sermon. WWJD?
But then--hey, it's Easter, right? Here we are, qualilty time, fiddling with her picture, and the outcome is going to please my mother like no letter from her liberal son ever could. So what if that's an old "means-and-ends" argument. Her vanity is childishness, thus excusable; and besides, I'm a grandparent. We don't sin when it comes to our grandchildren. And did I say, there she sat on my lap? Forget the sermon, Jeremiah. There'll be time enough later.
"Whitened teeth," I say, "I can give that a try."
Vanity, vanity--all is vanity.
Even for a Grandpa.