Friday, May 18, 2012

Some Enchanted Grandson

My seven-year-old grandson, Mikalh (pronounced me-call), has a tendency to walk off unexpectedly in order to execute some plan he hasn't bothered to inform anyone about. No, he's not being defiant; it simply hasn't occurred to him to share this information prior to his abrupt departure. He does this during dinner time at home, at restaurants, at parks, while shopping with his family, and (I'm guessing) in his classroom at school.

"Mikalh, sit down!"

"Mikalh, where are you going?"

Mikalh's eventual response usually begins with "I'm just..."

He is an avid reader and will attempt to cross the street with his face buried in a book he just can't bear to put aside. The adults in his life find themselves in the odd position of having to remove his reading material -- by force, if necessary. After all, learning about jousting in the Middle Ages is not really worth the risk of getting hit by a car.

new religious symbol
Mikalh recently invented (though clearly does not care to attend) the Church of Caution. At this place of worship, the parishioners are united under one creed which can be summed up as WATCH  OUT! When entering or leaving the church, each person must pause reverently before a large yellow caution sign and touch his fingers to it. Perhaps Mikalh envisioned this new faith as a possible refuge for his own occasional recklessness.

Because of his hyper-fertile imagination and innate compassion, one must practice censorship around Mikalh when speaking of incidents that may provoke fear or anguish. Of course it's impossible to remove every single negative influence from his immediate vicinity. Consequently, during a casual walk around the block, the sight of a cat with only one eye elicited heart-breaking sobs. A massively stupid TV program featuring zombie parasites made going to bed an ordeal for Mikalh and everyone around him for days on end.

Fortunately, Mikalh is accompanied on his way to his room or to the bathroom by the family dog, Xavier. Xavier is an unlikely combination of Labrador and Corgi -- a barrel-shaped sausage with flimsy kitty-cat legs.

"Is Xavier your guard dog?" I once asked Mikalh.

"No," he replied, "Xavier can't guard me; he's my love dog."

Mikalh and Dad
Mikalh does not, in appearance, resemble his mother or his two Nordic-looking older brothers. He looks like his father who is half Native American and half Irish. Thus, in summer, Mikalh's skin turns a rich, incandescent brown, a color which fades gradually during the winter months. His large dark eyes slope down a little bit at the outer corners. His expression is full of curiosity and wonderment. His laughter makes me think of a thousand glass wind chimes set in motion by a summer breeze. When he's angry, his scowl is deep and threatening, so intense it's almost comical like a caricature of unadulterated fury.

Mikalh possesses more costumes than he does clothes and has a whole closet devoted to them. In addition to the typical superhero regalia, he can outfit himself as a pirate, an astronaut, a king of Narnia, Perseus of Greek mythology, a zoo keeper, a race car driver, a cowboy or some odd combination of garments representing a newly-invented persona. Sometimes he will construct accessories out of various objects reclaimed from the recycling bin. Sheets of cardboard, egg cartons and tin cans become weapons, breast plates, masks, etc.
Cowboy Mikalh

Last Wednesday was his seventh birthday and Mikalh and I went out digging for dinosaur bones among the stunted prickly pear cacti and copious ponderosa pines at the rim of one of our town's numerous canyons We didn't find any fossils but had a good time nonetheless. We examined various insects (mostly varieties of ants) and watched a woodpecker disappear inside a hole in a tree trunk. We sniffed the sap of a ponderosa pine and determined that it smelled like butterscotch. Somewhere along the way we lost the large pumpkin scoop we were using as a digging tool.

As with my other two grandsons, I look on Mikalh's presence in my life as a unique treasure bestowed on me by the gods. Being the grandmother of this extraordinary child is both a solemn duty and an abiding pleasure.
Rowan, Mikalh, Devin and Xavier


  1. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful little boy. Would that all children be blessed with people in their lives who so clearly understand and love them.

  2. Great post about your grandson. You definitely show your love for your family. I can understand how frustrating it can be to have him wander off, but he clearly isn't trying to run away. By the way, my son William always loved to dig in the backyard for dinosaur bones! Never found any, but he made lots of holes.

  3. Did William become frustrated when he failed to discover any bones, or was he more into process? Miklalh has left a lot of holes in his short lifetime also.

  4. "His laughter makes me think of a thousand glass wind chimes set in motion by a summer breeze." So lovely.

    And this: "...I look on Mikalh's presence in my life as a unique treasure bestowed on me by the gods. Being the grandmother of this extraordinary child is both a solemn duty and an abiding pleasure." perfectly sums up how I eel about my kids and grands.

    I know you are grateful for having those boys in your life and it's wonderfully clear that they are equally blessed to have a grandmother who truly sees and honors them.