Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Behind the Wheel

Skylar has been blessed to have one set of grandparents live in the same town as her since she was born. Whatever troubles Kim and I have with them, their proximity has been an unequivocally good thing for our daughter. Her other set of grandparents, my mother and father, have lived across the country during those seven years. They come out two or three times each year to spend a week in our vicinity. Some years we spend a week in theirs. But even considering the regularity of those visits, the lack of time together is palpable.

For her part, Skylar compensates by being especially intense in my parents' present, as if she wanted to pack in six months' worth of interaction into a few days. That can be hard on them, since her full-bore mode can be overwhelming, as anyone who has experienced it can attest. On the other hand, I think it helps them to feel how much she misses them when they are gone.

Ever since Skylar first learned to walk and talk, she has made up games for them to play. Typically, they consist of role-playing that involves the redistribution of household goods and extremely specific instructions on what she wants them to do. It's remarkable how consistent these games have been, when you consider how rarely she gets to see my parents and how much she has changed over the past six years.

Still, all things come to an end eventually. There will come a day when Skylar won't be forcing them to act out highly elaborate scenarios. That's why I was pleased to be able to document some of yesterday's play:

I shot this photo at the tail-end of a workplace narrative in which being a taxi driver was the most desirable job. For a while, my mom was the taxi driver. Then my dad and her were both taxi drivers. Finally, the Bean took the wheel herself. As you can see, she has weighed both grandparents with various objects, just as she was doing at thirteen months.

After this portion of the game, the final stage consisted of Skylar leading her grandparents in rousing renditions of songs from Cabaret. Later, after they'd left for their motel and we were driving to the Seaside Market to get a final round of beverages and food, she sang those songs again. She has memorized all the salacious parts of the title number, you'll be interested to learn. Whether she understands what they mean or not is another question. Somehow, though, I get the sense that she is picking up on an underlying feel to the musical even if she can't explain the particulars. She is her mother and father's child, after all.
Tags: daughter, everyday, family, travel

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