cookies, baking with loveI heard it could be done, but never had proof until this week.

In fact, I never really tried until my little grandson broke his leg.dimple, grandson, grandmother

But when a grandson with a smile that turns stone into molten lava gets hurt, what else can a far-away grandmother (known in his world as Grammy Pammy) do?

So yes, I sneak down to the dark corner of my basement, where I hide the thick ancient texts on “cooking magic” and “baking love,” the texts that my family know nothing about. Continue reading

More Love

When I think my heart is filled to the brim with love – for my man, my children, their spouses, my parents, my brother and his family, our friends – grandchildren arrive.

I wonder how more love happens. Somehow I don’t have to squeeze each one into an already full heart – they suddenly occupy a huge chunk of it with no one else kicked out.

opera in the alley, San Francsico, street opera, love

Street opera on a San Francisco alley.

Flash. My guy and I walk the city of San Francisco with our son and two of his boys, 3 and 1 ½. We watch the ice skaters in the middle of Union Square, eat vendor pretzels, pant up hills (with the boys sharing a stroller), listen to the opera singer standing in the alley, and then somehow end up in a men’s clothing store, one that my man has bought clothes from since our son was his sons’ age.

As we finger the cotton shirts and silk ties, the two shop owners, now in their 60s, exclaim, “three generations of one family!’ and I feel a burst of pride. I don’t why. I haven’t done anything.

The Hound, San Francisco, men's clothing store, family, love, grandchildrenThe 1-year-old runs around the store with his pudgy bow-legged stance, finding everything at one-foot-high level that is dangerous.

The 3-year-old just sits on the floor looking up at the four men talking about important topics, like football and the stock market.

Suddenly, out of the blue, he touches my guy’s leg. “PaPa,” he says. The men don’t hear him. My little grandson waits patiently.

“PaPa,” he says again, not any louder.

PaPa stops talking and looks down at his grandson.

“PaPa,” our little grandboy continues as if in the middle of his quiet bedroom. “I love you.”

The busy clothier store grows quiet…

…and see?

My heart bursts open wider, to let in even more love.

Getting PaPa's attention.

More love.

Open Mouthed Kisses

I want to blame someone for the horrible cold I got last week. My son is first on the list. We met for lunch in the city the week before. He was sneezing and sniffling and suggested we shouldn’t hug hello or goodbye. But how do you not hug someone you love?

Two days later I still felt just fine. Then I worked at the town’s Holiday Art & Craft Sale, where friends and strangers are all in the holiday spirit and shake hands and laugh and sip on warm spiced cider. After each hand I shook I shuttered – how many germs in that one little shake? I’m not mysophobic, although these days we’re all being bombarded with movies and stories and news articles about ‘the big virus epidemic’ sure to come.

How can we not cringe when we’re flying in a steel tube with 200 strangers and the one sitting next to us coughs loud enough to rattle the entire plane? Yuck! Or when we open a door to a bank or restaurant, following the germy handprints of dozens of others? Or when a well-meaning customer comes in to the office with a smile and a warm moist handshake?

But I believe in being friendly, so I don’t give an air pump or a touchless high five to the sweet neighbor who drops by with a plate of cookies, or the fireman who helps me, once again, turn off my smoke alarm. I give hugs.

Some people are now into the ‘touch-free’ hugs. Remember the ‘air kiss,’ a kind of European sweep to one cheek, purse lips but no contact, stand back and move to the other cheek? I see friends, mostly female, air kiss all the time. Maybe it’s the new hug of the future. Maybe it’s not a bad idea.

But it looks …. Unfriendly. Dare I even say, kind of fake?

Ahhh, now I realize who I need to blame for my horrible terrible no-good sneezing coughing sore-throat cold.

My sweet runny-nosed 18-month-old grandson.

Now he knows how to greet someone and make them feel special. Just a year and a half into this world, he’s figured out that to melt the heart of a human and own her forever, give her a kiss and a hug. But he doesn’t give them out indiscriminately. If you’ve shown him a good time, and maybe read him a book, played race car demon with him for an hour, and offered him a warm gooey chocolate chip cookie, then he dispenses that most precious reward.

The only problem is that he hasn’t figured out how to kiss close-mouthed.

So yes, I spent some time with the toddler on the Friday before ‘the cold,’ and when it was time for him to go home, he opened up his little arms and said, ‘me me kee,’ (interpreted as “Pammy, Kiss!”).  While his mother held him, he leaned way out toward me and met my lips with a large wet “O” of a baby mouth. After a happy loud ‘MOWM’ sound, as if he’d just eaten a piece of high-end dark chocolate, he leaned back into his mom’s arms with an expression of serenity and happiness.

Did I mention he had a cold?

But I wouldn’t give up that open-mouthed kiss for all the germ-free touchless hugs in the world.

Would you?