Looking back, I think it’s fair to say that my Father was a little obsessive over the walls in his home.
They were immaculate.
During my teens we lived in an apartment in Mississauga for three years. I know for a fact that those walls were as sparkling clean when we moved out as they were on the day that we moved in. Even the superintendent expressed his amazement as he performed his final inspection on the apartment.
If Father ever found any impediment, mark, smudge, or nick on a wall it would be immediately addressed and corrected.
Touching the walls was strictly verboten.
Now, fast forward a decade or so…
My husband, daughter and I are paying my Grandparents a visit. They own a pretty little condo in Toronto where they live on the seventh floor.
At one point my Grandmother calls me over to her sliding patio door that leads to her balcony.
Pulling back the curtain she points to a patch of glass about a foot below the lock.
“Look,” she beckons me.
Seeing nothing, I shake my head no.
She then tells me to look closer.
All at once, I see the faint smudges on the glass that she is referring to. Although they’re not immediately noticeable, it looks like something has been smeared on the glass. Whatever it is, has now hardened and dried.
“What is it?” I ask her.
That is when she begins to smile,
“Those are Jennifer’s handprints.”
Jennifer is my three year old daughter, and my Grandmother is her Great-Grandmother.
Before I can mount an apology for my daughter’s handprints being on her sliding door window, my Grandmother begins to explain…
“Remember the last time you visited, and we gave Jennifer a piece of cheese?”
Of course I remembered. Jennifer loved cheese slices. My Grandmother joyfully indulged her Great Granddaughter by plying her with cheese slices from the moment she walked through the door. For virtually the whole visit, Jennifer’s fingers were covered in orange goo. I have memories of constantly chasing her around the apartment trying to keep her hands as clean as possible with a warm soapy washcloth.
Trying to keep her from touching anything was impossible.
“Last week, the ladies from the church were here, and I brought them to this window where I pointed to the handprints.”
“Okay,” I nodded as I continued to listen.
“Then I announced to my friends…
….These are my Great-Granddaughter’s handprints!”
From the look on her face I could tell that it must have been a very proud moment for her.
As I looked at her beautiful smile, the impossible happened.
I realized that no matter how much you believe you can love someone…
Your heart always finds ways to love them even more.