Friday, January 25, 2019

with my Chicago girls

It is a day to stay inside. The bitter cold has settled in and we'll have a whole week of temperatures that chill you to the bone. On some of the days, we'll not climb out of negative numbers (Fahrenheit) in Madison (meaning we'll stay well below -18C). To me, that's cold. Is it a question of not being used to something so fierce? We do not often get this frigid. Would I mind it less if it happened more often? A few days ago, I was watching a documentary on the wild horses of Siberia (the Yakut): these animals have adapted to temperatures that regularly reach the -90sF (that's -70C). There was an interview with a family who lives in these same regions. They ride the Yakutian horses and rejoice when the temps rise to -40F (also -40C!).

Chicago, where I am right now, is a tad warmer, but it's surely not good weather for a stroll. Not by a long shot. My granddaughter Primrose (who is my charge today) and I stay put!

(Hungry girl!)


(She's not one to sit still. Tossing all the toys out of the toy basket thrills her!)


Eventually, like any child, she tires. Her nap time is my breakfast time.


On the move again! Primrose can now walk, so long as she can hold on to something.


Little one, can we take a pause? For Spot flip books, she'll take a pause.


But then she eyes something equally enticing: grown up books! (Deliberating on the choices.)


She likes this one! There is a suggestion in her gaze: might we bring this cake to life?


Not today, Primrose. Not today.

Can I interest you in a cracker snack instead?

(Easily mollified.)


I have turned my daytime waking hours over to this splendid young child. I can give her that much (not enough! Chicago is so far!).

But late in the evening, when Primrose is asleep, I turn my attentions to my daughter: she and I go out to dinner (her husband babysits). Call it a birthday meal, call it a rare moment when that now grownup daughter, that supremely busy adult person can be your child again, indulging you and your stories over some very good Basque food, as if we were traveling to those corners of the world once more. And maybe just tonight, we are.

(At the Bar Biscay)


So cold outside! For once, tonight, I don't give it a second thought.