The sun shines, the ocean breeze gently blows, and I sweep my hair away from my face. Sitting on the low edge of my concrete planter, I look at Luca through squinted eyes as he collects rocks. He proudly shows me each treasure one after another, laying some aside in a small collection of sorts, and making a game of tossing others into a tall grass mound. He quickly runs across the rock garden and up the front steps to grab a sweet treat he has left there for safe keeping. He comes up behind me and says, Nonna I can see your butt, and he giggles. I protest, saying it isn’t so, but I know it’s true. I tug at my too low jeans and pull at my shirt to cover the evidence while Luca has already busied himself with the rocks again.
He examines each one and without looking up he asks, What are you doing Nonna? And I say I’m looking at you, watching you play. He replies, Because you love me so much? And I say, Yes, because I love you so much. I smile, happy knowing he is so sure of my love. I make a secret wish in my heart that my love, and the love of his family stays with him always and carries him through times in his life when he is certain to feel unlovable. He will have success and failure. He will love greatly and his heart will be broken. He will have great joy and also sorrow. As much as I want to protect him from any sadness, it’s inevitable. Such is life.
As he tells me about the rocks, describing their colors and shapes, his mommy, my daughter, approaches and asks, What are you doing with Nonna? Still arranging the rocks, he tilts his head looking as though he has solved the mystery of the universe, and wisely states, We are rhyming shapes. I smile hearing his funny little words, childlike and yet somehow profound.
Luca’s face glows, as the sun makes its way to the ocean. I gaze at him, loving his innocent soul. I shower Luca with my love completely and willingly. In his company I am reminded that giving unconditional love is the only way to heal from sadness and grief. Perhaps as we are rhyming shapes, Luca teaches me to stop insisting that the world make sense, and instead to accept what is with gratitude, grace and love.