Alice Mae

Alison Mae Clapper

Minutes after she was born, her father told us her name and her mother declared, “Her name is Alison Mae, but all her friends call her Alice Mae.”

We are birthday twins, Alice Mae and I. She was born on my 70th birthday. My hope is that I will dance with her on her wedding day.

From the first time I held her and dozens of times since, I have touched her hand, looked into her eyes, and said, “Gria’s hand is 70 years older than your hand, Alice Mae. Gria’s ear is 70 years older than your ear,” and so on. Now, as she approaches four, she shows glimmers of understanding.

Birthday twins, Gria and Alice Mae

Last night, we two had a sleep-over. Our second girls-night-in. We planned it for days.

First, dinner out.

I gave Alice Mae three choices. Really, I could think of only two places in town that she’d like – The Station Grill and Flying Fish. I threw in a third option simply because I like things in three – Table Mesa, an upscale, trendy, darkish place for young couples. Alice Mae picked Table Mesa. Although we did walk in hand-in-hand as many patrons did, we were an unusual Friday night twosome.

Take-away #1: Only the crowns of broccolis are good for you; the stems must be cut away and hidden out of sight, never again to be mentioned.

Next, an experiment.  A taste test.

When we got back to my house, we set up the kitchen counter as a make-shift science lab. The research was simple: Determine which graham cracker combination we each preferred. Together, we prepared the contenders for each of us to sample:

Graham cracker square – peanut butter – craisins.

Graham cracker square – cream cheese – craisins.

Graham cracker square – jelly– craisins.

Take-away #2: I’m apparently not as smart as I think I am, because before we each announced our favorite, Alice Mae said, “ You should go first, Gria, since I’m a little smarter than you.”

We each favored the peanut butter combination. Apparently, taste has nothing to do with intelligence.

Last, snuggling in bed and stories.

After I read a chapter in Beezus and Ramona, Alice Mae asked me to tell the story of Cincerella. I did my best, but we were both asleep before the clock struck twelve in the story itself.

Take-away #3: A 4-year-old can take up an entire queen-sized bed with no effort whatsoever.

One of the things I love best about life is that you never know what’s going to happen. There I was many years ago. I had four wonderful kids – two steps and two I’d adopted. Then, out of the blue, I discovered I was pregnant with Alice Mae’s father. I was close to forty. Her dad was my fifth child and my first delivery. He was my first progeny and she is my first granddaughter. Who would have written a tale like that?

So maybe my hope – my prayer –that I will dance with Alice Mae at her wedding isn’t so outlandish after all. Life is full of twists and turns. Maybe I will live long enough and be mobile enough to dance with this darling on her big day. It‘s even possible that the jitterbug will be back in style by then.

And won’t I be way cool.

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