Two days ago my soon to be twelve-year-old grandson came up to me, face to face, put his hand in a horizontal salute at the top of his head and touched mine. He said, “Grandma I’m almost as tall as you.” Almost every time I see my grandkids, one of them will do and say this to me.
Being of Japanese ancestry and having taught kindergarten and first grade, kids did this to me all the time. In addition, I am a mother and a grandmother, so that’s forty-two years of having my shortness pointed out to me by children shorter than me. Forty-two years!
Of course, it runs in my family. My sister was an inch shorter than me. If I stand really tall I can round up to 5’1″, which is two inches taller than my mom was. My daughter is two inches taller than me. When one of my aunts was in her 90’s, she had to stand on a box to reach the microphone on the podium to deliver her delightful words at my dad’s funeral.
I’ve been watching the tops of my grandkids’ heads rise steadily up over these past twelve years. Their hand salutes are getting closer and closer to the top of my head. My “little” granddaughter is twelve now and tall enough that we have to stand back to back our compare heights, and a third party has to make the decision of who is taller. When I see her in a few weeks, I’m pretty sure the call will be in her favor. Soon, she’ll be able to call me “her little grandma”.
How did this happen so fast? It seems like it was just the other day that I was bending over or lifting my grandkids up to plant a kiss on their heads. Now they’re looking me in the face and patting the top of my head. I saw my own children grow up into adulthood. I watched them bend over their elderly grandma and lovingly kiss the top of her head when they saw her alive for the last time.
Now I see time flash forward to a future where I live a very long time… I see my grandkids, all grown up, bending down to kiss my head as I grow older and older, until one day, I leave my body to disperse back into the Everything. One day they will find themselves wrapped up in the infinite hug of the Universe, and they will hear their little grandma’s voice say, “Didn’t you know? You’ve always been this big.”
Samyak Yamauchi, 2019 late summer
Visit Samyak’s magical art and blog here
Samyak is featured on Art Beat on OPB here