A Child's Perfect Love

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My father-in-law (I.B.) was dying of cancer in a San Francisco hospital on a hill. Even though the Bay Area is fluent in fresh air and beautifully clumped together, there was something more intriguing about the sight of a failing body lying on an adjustable bed surrounded by two of his youngest grand-babies.

I am glad I decided to see him one more time, even though we did not know each other very well. However, I spent more time with him than his other daughter-in-law and that gave me a sense of entitlement during our visit. I could see the appreciation in his eyes because it was so easy for him to gaze on Landon and Lacie.

Although, the truth is I would not have let my husband make that trip alone. When three doctors bombarded the room with the obvious "end of life" discussion, Mark and I orchestrated a closer lean in to "Grandpa I.B." for bonding.

Landon and Lacie did not have an ongoing relationship with their grandpa yet. 1) They live too far away. 2) They are 2 and 3 years old.

But, I will never forget the trip when Grandpa I.B. came for Christmas in 2011. He did not have any money, or a clue as to what little kids would want for Christmas; he was awkward but gentle.

Almost immediately Mark took I.B. to one of our local stores and found a train set for Landon. That night Landon played with the train set from Grandpa I.B., but as soon as Grandpa I.B. left town, the train went in Landon's closet. It was remarkable to watch a small child know how to appease the situation with grace. He exemplified a perfect gentleman.

Back in comfort care, the atmosphere was surreal; now that he was experiencing breathing problems we knew it would not be long. Since we were standing on the edge of time, we decided to say our "farewells" and head back to Los Angeles.

Landon and Lacie were quiet and well-mannered for their daddy's long drive home.

When the little ones reunited with the love nest, it felt like lots of cuddles would be in order. Instead, Landon went straight for his closet and pulled out the train set Grandpa I.B. bought him, Christmas 2011. Landon played with that train set for the entire week. He truly appreciated his gift.


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