June 15th, 2020
Weston only loves me for my laptop. The 18-month-old is eager to crawl up onto my chair, especially if he sees that have I turned on the computer. He usually does this after he has just finished a meal. He holds out his arms, and then he climbs right up next to me, and abruptly pushes my hand away from the mouse. From that point on, he’s using the laptop. It doesn’t take long for fragments of scrambled eggs to litter the keyboard, and for a thin layer of peanut butter to coat the screen. I let him do whatever he wants until he somehow gets to the “settings” screen. Then I gently nudge him off of my lap.
Weston does not take this rejection well. My grandson is a boy who wears his emotions on his sleeve, or rather, on his face. Once I have separated him from the magical device, he reacts to the injustice of it all. His face darkens, his brows furrow, he cries out, and he beats the floor with his pudgy little fists. I don’t know whether to cry or laugh. He is rather young to experience the unfairness of life, but, hey, he has to learn sometime.
Fortunately, Weston is also a young man who does not dwell long on perceived slights and offenses. His attention span is similar to that of a fruit fly, and he is easily distracted by the parade of new events. This is not to say that Weston does not remember things. He may be led away by shiny, new things for a moment or two, but he always returns to his original goal. By the time I have read even one email, Weston is standing at my side, arms extended, waiting for me to raise him up to the world of the Internet. The lad is relentless. Eventually, he wears me down. Somehow, he knows that I am an old man with limited stamina.
It does not hurt Weston’s cause that he is so ridiculously cute. One loving look from Weston turns my heart to melted butter. I mean, really, who can refuse a little, round-headed kid with a cherubic smile? I can’t do it. Maybe his father, Hans, can be a hard ass with the boy, but not me. It’s not my job any more to be a disciplinarian. I’m more of a non-threatening Gandalf figure.
It would be unfair to say that Weston only wants me for the computer. He also wants me for my damn cell phone. That is pathetic, because I only own an old flip phone. However, he can hear me open the thing and type on it. It’s scary in a way. Weston has excellent hearing. He wants that phone. I don’t know why. He just does.
Okay. Now comes the truth. Weston asks me to hold him even if no electronic devices are involved. If I am standing in the room with him, he will look up at me and raise his hands, and he won’t stop until he is in my arms. He might get a bit squirrelly there, but he wants me to hold him. Just hold him. I think he feels safe with me. Weston will get restless after a while, and want to go back down. Kids are like that. They need to explore. They need to move.
Eventually, he comes back to me. He will latch on to me, and rest. We hug for a moment.
That moment lasts for an instant. It lasts for all time.