Today is StarGirl’s 4th birthday.
StarGirl lives far away, but Grandma and Grandpa visit her through the computer.
She has marshmallow pop stickiness on her cheeks and dirt on her arms from playing outside (even though she has just “washed” in preparation for the video call). She answers us that she is 4 and admonishes silly Grandpa when he makes a “mistake,”, “I be 5 next year, Grandpa!” She hugs her big silver 4 balloon floating around the apartment living room in Spain.
“Yook, yook!” StarGirl shows her new fort! Set up by the balcony where the Mediterranean sun streams through its cloth walls. And a big chair-pillow to nestle in, in her favorite blue. She has a new softie owl in purple with big jewel-y eyes and silver feet.
She has art supplies and a rainbow apron, and a new cooperative game to play with big brother BlueCat. BlueCat has been so helpful this sister-birthday. With each wrapped package he gets the tear started on the gift-paper. It’s not easy to be the birthday-onlooker but he is a kind one.
Grandma is feeling dissatisfied with her gifts for StarGirl. Grandma is so frustrated with mail that takes months and customs fees so she orders online. That’s bad enough, but she finds the just-right gift over and over to find it can’t be delivered to Spain. And she is wracked by the memory of her own wonderful mother-in-law’s hand-made gifts to her children over the years, they always seemed perfect for that grandchild, at that moment. So… gift anxiety. So much love and how to express it?
Well, of course, two things are true. First, StarGirl loves the gifts. A rocking-crib for her Bebe and two doll bottles. One with milk and one orange juice. And a pacifier that fits right into Bebe’s pursed plastic mouth.
You know those classic doll bottles that look full and then look empty when tilted? StarGirl stares and stares, fascinated.
And second, of course Grandma and Grandpa want to find the perfect gifts, and to shower StarGirl and BlueCat with marshmallow pops, take them on excursions, buy Kinder Eggs whenever asked, play the games on the living room floor and just BE THERE. And it is so hard to not be able to, not even have a date written on the calendar to anticipate. But it will be ok. When StarGirl was asked what nickname Grandma should give her, instead StarGirl gives one for Grandma. What is it? StarGirl says “Love.”