There is a certain look our girls give when they’re being mischievous. When they have convinced Nana to have just one more candy (for the second time). They’ve cleverly hid their green beans under their salad. Or they have skillfully hid their toys under their blankets when asked to clean their room (truly convinced we won’t notice the giant humps sticking out). It’s not that they’re trying to be bad. Or sneaky. More that they think they’ve outsmarted us. And sometimes all I can do is smile and let them feel oh so clever.
I was 6. I don’t remember why my grandpa was babysitting me without my grandma there. But somehow we ended up at the food court in the mall. He took me to the donut shop for a treat. This was before the days of Tim Hortons or Starbucks every 10 feet. It was an old school donut shop with the twirly stools and racks and racks of colourful, gigantic donuts. He asked me how many I was allowed to have and I boldly said 6. Never in a million years did I think I would get away with it. But he promptly asked the lady for 6 of the donuts covered in ballerina pink frosting. I nearly peed my pants I was so excited.
As I sat at the table in the middle of the food court I was certain all the other kids were staring at that box of donuts in envy. My grandpa opened the lid. Pushed it towards me. And told me to dig in. As I stuffed my face with pink frosted donuts I knew there was no way in the world I was allowed to eat so many. So I started shovelling them in my mouth faster before my grandpa could change his mind or figure it out. I know I had that look across my face. The same one our girls get. Convinced I had outsmarted him. And he sat there and smiled at me the entire time, never once saying a word. By the 5th donut I wanted to throw up but refused to let on that I’d fibbed about how many donuts I could have and forced myself to eat the last one. I had tricked him. Trying not to throw up pink, we walked away hand in hand. My stomach aching, but still smiling at my clever victory. And as we walked back to the house he kissed the top of my head. Smiled at me. And said ‘don’t tell your mom’.
Earlier this year I lost my grandpa. As I stood at his funeral I shared this memory and how I felt that day. The look. The moment I thought I had outsmarted him far beyond my years. And standing there in front of family and friends, I cried and laughed at the same time as I realized he knew exactly what he was doing the whole time, but let me get away with it anyways. He let me feel like the luckiest and most clever kid in the whole world. And I’ll love him forever for that. Sometimes he was more of a kid than I was :)
- Brianna (photo by Ewan)