I’m so tired.  I’m so frustrated.  I used to know so much.

Since the stroke, the one that almost killed me, I don’t know so much anymore.  No, not true, I still know all I did before, I just can’t get it out.  In my mind, I’m still me.  But I can’t show that me to anyone else.

My grandson knows his ABCs.  He sings to me so:  ABCDEFG

I marvel at how easily the letters, in order, flow from his lips.


He doesn’t even stumble at ‘lmnop’.  I remember I always had trouble with that part.


He keeps time with the sing-song in his voice.  There’s no effort—he’s got it down pat.


Pure, unabashed, humble pride in his little voice.


Oh my precious little one, I wish I could.  There’s nothing I would like to do better, nothing, than to sing the ABCs with you.

Can you read my thoughts?  Somehow I think you can.  You’ve got the wisdom of the very young.  You believe!

Come over here; sit on my lap; bring your book full of pictures.  You can’t hear me because I have no voice; my lips move erratically and the only thing that comes out is drool.

But you come to me.  No one else comes; no one else knows I want them to come.  No one else jumps into my lap and lays his head on my chest.  No one else reads me pretty pictures of Aardvarks, Balloons, Cats, Dogs, Elephants, Flowers…

When you were born, your father–my son–named you after me.  Is that why you read my thoughts.  Can a name be an invisible umbilical between two people who are struggling to live in a world just a little too complicated for them?

Your mother sticks her head into our world. She reaches for you.  “Come on now, get off of Papa’s lap.  You’re too heavy to be there.”

“No, no, no”, I protest vigorously, in silence like I always do.  “Let him stay.  Oh please, please let him stay.”

You turn your back on your own mother and bury your face into my beard.  “Papa wants me to sit in his lap.  I know he does.  Don’t make me get down.”

“Besides, I haven’t finish reading my book to him.  I’m only up to LMNOP”.

Don Magin
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