She’s the apple of my eye, my sweet Anna. I guess it’s because she’s my only granddaughter, or it could be that she and I connected early in her life, and our relationship grew as she did. I was surprised that she was proud of her old grandpa and even postponed dates when she knew I was going to be in town. I was one proud old dude.
During one visit I knocked on her door, “Anna, it’s me, can I come in?”
“Of course you can Grandpa.”
She was sitting at her dressing table, and I could tell that she had been crying.
“What is wrong darling, what’s gotten you so upset?”
“Oh grandpa, just look at me. I’m ugly. There isn’t enough make-up to make me look cute let alone pretty, and don’t tell me that I’m beautiful, because I know I’m not.”
I sat down beside her and took her chin in my hand and turned her toward the mirror. “You are beautiful. It took generations of people to make you as you are. You have the best of all our traits and combined they make you who you are, my beautiful granddaughter. Look at your nose, that is your mother’s nose and her mother’s nose. I didn’t know your great-grandmother but I bet that is her nose too. Look at your ears, my dad had those ears and with those ears he listened to the surrender of the Japanese in World War 2, he heard the first words spoke from the moon, and he heard your father’s first cry when he was born. Those cheek bones are my mother’s. She turned heads until my father captured her heart. Take a look at this chin that’s in my hand. This is your father’s chin. Firm and squared makes you look ready to take what the world has to give”.
I turn her head towards me, “Now look at into my eyes, do you see it? You have my eyes. They sparkle when you smile, they radiate your goodness and tell me that as a person you are a mature and confident person. They complete you, the beautiful you that every one of your ancestors would be proud of. You are beautiful, my dear Anna. You are so beautiful inside and especially outside. Yes, you may not be the most beautiful one in your class, or the most popular, but you are who you are and that is someone to be proud of, there is nobody but you and your crazy notions that can take that away from you.”
She wiped away the last of the tears in her eyes, “Just how do you know what to say? Are you a prophet or something?”
“No, I’m just an old coot who has some living under his belt and now sees things more clearly than I did a few years ago.”
She laughed and hugged me, "You’re not just some old coot, you are my old coot”.
Yes, my dear Anna, you are the product of generations. As I look at the old black and white pictures I have of those who have gone before us, I see a little of you in them. You make me proud, and I know as they look down on us they turn to those around them and point and say: “Look, she’s one of ours.” One day my dear, you will say to your granddaughter, look you have my grandfather’s eyes, they sparkle when you smile, they dance as you laugh, you can be proud to have those eyes.
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