Note: Bug Bytes are simple snippets, quick thoughts. Thanks for reading.
Note: Recently, I mentioned that I found this snippet from my book “Divine Renovations.” It takes place on one of my bad, weepy days, several months after my late husband, Ed, died of lung cancer. I was a wreck. My grandson, Eli, was about 3 then, and was always the best balm. This excerpt is one of the more uplifting moments in the book, so I’m sharing! (If you like it, the book can be found in my shop!)
It is time to go get Eli at day care. When I have my arms around his little body, I start to weep again, but this time it is from the relief that seeing him brings me. I kiss his face again and again.
“Hi, Nini,” he says, smiling. He smells like food.
Eli’s care provider, Louise, gives me his shoes and his mini hoodie. I know she sees my tears. I hate when people don’t know about Ed, and I hate to tell them. I debate the matter and then blurt, “My husband died recently. I don’t know if Sally told you.”
“I’m sorry,” she says. “Sally mentioned that. I’m so sorry.”
Louise puts her hand on my shoulder, and tears drip down my cheeks.
“It’s been a hard day,” I say, voice trembling. I want to sit down on her couch with Eli. I want Louise to be my day care provider. We could drink tea and do puzzles with the children. She could prepare my lunch and put me down for a nap when I start to cry.
I take him to the elementary school a block away, thinking we will play on the playground. It’s a lovely afternoon.
When we pull in the parking lot, he says, “Backetball.” He is pointing to three basketball courts. A father with a slew of boys is playing on one of them, and Eli is walking toward the boys, repeating “backetball, backetball, backetball.”
When we get close, I stop him and tell him he can watch but can’t play. He stands there, feet spread apart. Five minutes pass. Seven. He is still watching. His head follows the ball.
A new player arrives, and as he retrieves his ball from his trunk, I notice he has an extra in there, and I ask if Eli can play with it.
“This one’s flat,” he tells me, and I laugh and say, “He won’t know the difference.”
The young man heads for an empty court, playing a little one-on-nobody. He is quick, and he sinks the ball two out of three times. Eli is transfixed.
“Pass the ball to Nini,” I tell him, and he does. I shoot, score, and the half-flat ball lands with a thud. Eli tries to dribble, and the ball works well enough for him. We repeat our game over and over. It reminds me of my brothers playing basketball as kids in the backyard. It feels good to have something feel familiar.
The basketball player has taken a shine to Eli.
“Hey little guy,” he says. “What’s your name?” Eli plays shy, so I say, “Eli.”
I ask the young man’s name. Abdul.
Abdul hands Eli the ball, and Eli shyly “passes” it back.
Abdul dances off for more of his rapid-fire play. Eli watches. The sun sets.
“Want to go home and see Daddy?” I ask.
“Go home see Dada,” Eli confirms.
We thank Abdul and he and Eli high five.
We say goodbye as we walk to the car. I feel good. Whole. As we drive away, I think how much I love Eli. I love Sally. I love Abdul. I love Abdul’s mother. I love this afternoon.
I recognize it as God-given.