Grandma Update: Brilliance and the Pink Butterfly


Moments with a child make life simple again, the good sort of simple, at least for a bit. And they remind us that brilliance really is in the eye of the beholder. I often go back to a moment with Emerson in the spring:

I held up my painting of a pink butterfly.

“Can you say it, Emerson? Can you say ‘butterfly?”

She grinned from her high chair.  A grin that took over her face. Then her expression grew serious. She studied the painting as if she were going into deep recall.

I waited.

Then out came a jumble of consonants and maybe a vowel or two.

“You said it, Emmie! You said ‘butterfly.”’

In that moment, I saw brilliance.

The brilliance of butterflies and line and paint and color.

The brilliance of a baby girl.

And the brilliance of language, even if only a grandmother can understand it.


Grandma update on Emerson: Emerson learned to say “butterfly” in April. My favorite new expression is “golf ball.” She had a good time last month bouncing one off the beach house deck into the shrubbery below. She’d come find me and announce, “Golf ball!” clear as a bell. I was then in charge of finding the ball, not an easy task.