“Gramma, I almost ready!”shouts a little voice from down the hall.
With a deep breath and chuckle to herself, Wilhelmina Josephine Butler eases up, out of her armchair and slowly shuffles to the kitchen. To quiet the tide of memory flooding back in waves, she steadies herself by packing the PB & J she made the night before, lining up the near rows of matchstick carrots and celery - and, of course, dip - and a chocolate chip cookie for dessert.
First days of 1st grade needed a fun dessert. And she guessed it was as much for her as that gorgeous firecracker of a daughter.
Lunchbag clutched against an army of recollection, Wilhelmina Josephine Butler carefully places the lunch in the Lisa Frank backpack she so easily agreed to. Loud and garish and full of every bit of personality she feared to have when she was young.
It was perfect.
As joyful footsteps pounded down the hall - and a silent prayer was said for the downstairs neighbors - bright curls bounded into view, a smear of peanut butter toast still on a wide grin. Gnarled hands that had seen so many First Days of School grasped and fumbled with a neon pink zipper.
“I got it!” yelled the 6-yr-old, jubilant at having mastered zippers, gently taking the backpack away from her grandmother, reminding the matriarch of another little one who never tried until she knew she could do it, this little one so like her.
No one could quite grasp the laces, split between hands that lacked practice and hands stiffened from decades of tying. Wilhelmina Josephine Butler smiled to herself at the chasm of years between and made a mental note to get velcro boots this winter.