Tuesday, November 9, 2021

To bear fruit

Three year old granddaughter Frog was quietly engrossed with my doll collection, nestled on the hope chest in the hallway near our kitchen, happily ignoring the gathering crowd. There were too many new faces for her to feel comfortable, but she is social and curious enough to want to be on the periphery, listening in and watching. The hope chest and the doll collection were the perfect remedy.

My oldest brother and wife (her great uncle and aunt) were visiting from Maine - our first overnight guests since sometime before March 2020. How to describe the joy we felt to have overnight company? To have this sense of normalcy? I suggested a Saturday brunch for all my local family/relatives - my sons, my daughter-in-law, the granddaughters, a nephew, a niece, my younger brother and his wife. It was awesome! With all of us vaccinated (and many of the older folks with boosters, too), I had no issues with hosting an indoor brunch. 

I actually got a little watery-eyed when my nephew arrived, carrying a fruit salad - I hadn't seen him since before the pandemic began. What a gift to see him, to have him here with us! There was a chorus of hellos as he entered, and a sea of adults crowding in on him. As I reached to hug him, I managed to knock his carefully-balanced hold on the fruit - and BLAM! 
It splattered to the floor, 
the grocery store packaging split apart, and 
fruit and juice were flying skidding scattering all about.
Instant chaos ensued amongst all of us loving greeters - some squealing, at least one loud "oh no!," a sister-in-law dashing to find paper towels, me running to the sink for a dishtowel, my husband racing for the trash can, others jumping back to avoid the syrupy mess, still others - not entirely understanding that there was mess on the floor - moving closer to loudly welcome and embrace my nephew. 

One small unexpected hug led to one small unexpected mess to one quick and wild clean up involving a rather ridiculous number of adults - oh how I have missed these party moments!! Truly, even the spills are delightful after so many many months of no parties, no get-togethers, no others. I stood at the sink rinsing out the dishtowel and chuckling, everyone chattering, 
when all of a sudden 
I heard this low, scared, whimpering hum that grew into 
a loud, frightened, wail  - 

"Nana! Nana! Nana!"

We had forgotten about Frog. Entirely. She had watched this frenzied fruit salad melee from her odd vantage point on the side, probably seeing little more than rapid, impulsive movement of unknown thighs and bottoms alongside a variety of equally unknown loud voices - leaving her completely surprised and confused. She couldn't see her parents, she couldn't see her grandparents, what was going on? 

I rushed to her - she was now in child's pose on the hope chest, hands over her ears, trying to melt into the furniture and disappear, while big sobs wracked her body. I scooped her into my arms, and we moved to a quiet corner in the back of the house, away from the others, where I calmed her fears and explained the craziness. She was quickly soothed, and later charmed my nephew by calling him "the fruit salad cousin." So adorable! 

Frog delighted in the rest of the party, as did all of us. Imagine, three years into life, and unaccustomed to the high and unexpected energy of large get-togethers. All of us have a lot of catching up to do!

To good health and gathering together!! 

The view from a three year old's perspective


  1. What a marvelous slice - I love the feeling of everyone getting together - at last!!! And of course, rushing in to help in the chaos - but the switch to Frog's perspective at the end is so powerful. Thank you for sharing - and I'm so glad you got to have that get together!

  2. Maureen, what a great retelling of this. I love how you first told it from the perspective of the adults--and how you had "missed these party moments!" Even the craziness of them. Then you went to Frog's feelings, and the reminder that this was something she has not had a chance to get used to yet. Wow! that is going to be something for all of us to remember for the little ones, they don't remember what it used to be like. Great post.