|Scarlett Star -- Last month|
Today I was trying to tell Scarlett, my granddaughter, a knock-knock joke.
Scarlett: Who’s there?
Me: Interrupting Cow
Scarlett: (smiles mischievously) Um…no. You can’t come in.
I laughed pretty loud, and Scarlett laughed at me laughing. “Grandma,” she said, exaggerating her own laughter. “We’re having so much fun!”
Laughing is fun and we know this. My grandkids love laughing; they even invent reasons to do it—and Scarlett is no exception. She loves playing barbies with me and pretending one breaks their leg just so we call over Doc McStuffins, who will save the day. Doc McStuffins is huge, compared to Scarlett’s Barbies. Sometimes she makes her walk over to them like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man, which makes both of us laugh. Scarlett loves making me laugh. She loves being good at this.
Scarlett Star Rodriguez was born in New Mexico four years ago today, in a birthing room perched on the top floor of the hospital. After a long labor, Rikki delivered Scarlett, who was promptly weighed, measured, and handed over to her father, Vince (my son) as Rikki recovered. Scarlett relaxed into his arms and after a few minutes with her, he let me hold her myself. This scene will be with me forever—it was a perfect, peaceful time after a long, tumultuous labor.
Scarlett was finally here.
The birth of a child is always a little unpredictable, but soon things became normal and Vince and Rikki brought her home to meet Bruno, the family dog, accepted her as his baby.
Scarlett was the first child to be born after Mario and I returned from South Africa, and we rejoiced that we were so close. Even though the family still lived miles away in New Mexico, I was grateful to be back in the USA, only two time zones away from a phone call—a simple plane ride from here to there. Still, Scarlett’s birth magnified the desire for all of us to be closer. It also exposed an interesting fact: California was Vince’s home, but New Mexico was Rikki’s.
Where would Scarlett find her home? The answer was, as it is for all children, that Scarlett’s home was with her parents. No matter where they chose to live, Scarlett’s most important connection would be with her mother and father during her formative years.
By the time Scarlett turned one, anyone could see she was a secure and happy baby. Vince and Rikki eventually decided to move “back” to California, and so we are very close now. After a getting-to-know-you period, Scarlett started socializing with us regularly. She became more and more accepting of us, and each step was a miracle.
Today Scarlett Star turns FOUR! She has grown into a delightful, friendly, joy-filled girl who we love being around. Every other week, for a Friday trip to Chico, Scarlett accompanies me to see her cousins and Auntie Alicia. These days are especially beautiful, since the building of strong family connections is so important. She also loves her extended family, running to her cousins at family gatherings and clinging to them with glee. "There's my cousin," she says, pointing at a picture on our refrigerator. "That's my family."
Yesterday I asked Scarlett what she wanted for her birthday. She thought awhile and then she said, “Well, I’ll tell you what I want, but Mommie said I could have it if I am a very good goy-al.” I smiled at this and waited with great anticipation. She came closer and whispered her heart’s desire: “I want a can of soda all to myself!”
Remember when the idea of a can of soda was magical? When your toys were real and the world was a safe place filled with endless possibilities to have fun? That’s how old Scarlett is today—the magical age of four.
Happy Birthday, Scarlett Star! You are an amazing goy-al.