Last Saturday, you and your mum came back from Perth where you had been spending a week with your other nana and papa. You’ve been away for a week. I know how much they enjoy seeing you but selfishly we were glad you were back. Who wouldn’t be?
Your dad and I came out to pick you both up from the airport. We caught up with you at the baggage terminal. You put your arms around your dad’s leg waiting to be picked up. When he did, you wrapped your arms around his neck. I was standing next to him and you looked over and saw me and you reached out and said, ”Papa,” and pulled me into the cuddle.
As we walked to the car, you buried your face in your dad’s neck and wrapped your arms around him. They don’t quite reach yet but you were holding on as tight you could. I was walking behind. Every now and then you would look up. I like to think it was to make sure I was following along. And then you would snuggle back into your dad.
I’ll never forget the look on your face. You’re not smiling, you are just very very happy. I’ve seen that look on your face once before that I can remember. You had just woken up in Nana and Papa’s big bed with the covers pulled up and the pillows all around you, snug and secure and very happy. Everything was right in the world in the way that can only be right for a small child.
When we got in the car, I sat in the back seat with you. I had brought Baby Rabbit, Baby Dragon and Leopard specially to greet you. You are so pleased to see them and you wrapped your arms round them in a huge hug while you devoured slices of apple, blueberries and grapes from your special lunchbox.
Next day, you came round for Easter Sunday. As soon as you arrived, you headed upstairs. I thought it was to greet your animal friends. But no, it was to survey the new poster of the solar system.
“Which one is Venus? Which one is Earth?” They were duly pointed out you. You’re three at your next birthday. Clearly soft toys are off the birthday list. You seem pleased that visit to the Planetarium at Science Works was scheduled for the week after next.
Then it was downstairs with some Lego that Nana had bought. You, your dad and Uncle Nick spent the next hour putting it together. I took photos. It was amazing to watch. Just three blokes spending a Sunday afternoon no great rush, not a lot to say, just putting stuff together.
And you, expecting, I think, to be treated completely as an equal, particularly when it came to an assessment of Nick’s artwork that he did when he was in kindergarten about the same age as you are now. Nick explained to you what he was trying to achieve as an artist and you, an artist of considerable standing in your own right already, were prepared to give him a very fair hearing.
It’s wonderful watching you building the relationships with the members of the family. You are particularly good at constructing those relationships with adults and I think you have a real talent for understanding how to relate to other children particularly girls who are older than you.
What is particularly interesting is watching you with Matilda. Naturally, Matilda doesn’t respond at all so you have to take a lot of your cues from adults. But on Sunday, you began improvising and while you were having lunch, you began making cheese sandwiches for Matilda. You like cheese sandwiches. They are one of the staples of your diet and it so typical of you to share the things that are important for you with other people.
On Sunday, we had an Easter egg hunt. You shared all your eggs with the family. You shared the biggest one with Nick. He’s going to be the perfect uncle. He’s a sort of a replica dad. Not quite like dad but close enough which is just pretty good from where I stand.