A Story of Mashed-Chocolate Love
My grandson, Cookie-boy, is a sweet and lovely two year old. With his dark curly hair, large brown eyes and grave demeanor he often reminds me of a gentle, solemn old man. He has a quiet, gentle, affectionate nature, and has always been especially fond of me. He is a sharing kind of child, always eager to give away toys, clothing and food. Sometimes a little too eager.
One evening a few days ago he came stumping excitedly into our living room.
"Wook, wook at this, pah-pah", he lisped in his little-boy's voice. He held up a chubby fist and slowly uncurled his fingers. There, mashed into a flattened pulp was a Hershey's kiss. Most of the chocolate inside had been squished out, covering the tin foil and his palm. He held it out as proudly as if it were the Holy Grail that he'd just uncovered from some dusty toy box.
"Ah. Yes, that looks tasty, Cookie-boy." I smacked my lips. "Yeah, that's a tasty treat."
"You eat," he said.
I looked at the crumpled mess. This had probably traveled in my grandson's pocket for the entire day. Most of the chocolate had oozed out of the crumpled foil wrapper and was deposited in Cookie-boy's sweaty little palm. It looked as unappetizing as a chewed spitball.
"Um." I definitely didn't feel like eating the 'tasty treat.' "You can have it, 'cause you're such a good boy. Eat it up."
Whew. I'd gotten myself out of that one. My preoccupation with germs is a little extreme at times, and I could just picture the bacteria that would have been swirling around in my gut after consuming Cookie-boys's mashed, lint-covered candy. I started to lean back in my easy chair when I looked at Cookie-boys's face. His serious brown eyes were fixed intently on me, and his general demeanor was one of hurt and disappointment. He blinked at me. "You doan want it?" His hand remained out.
I looked at the candy, then at his face, so sad and hopeful. He wasn't just giving me a piece of squished candy, he was giving me something that in his eyes was desirable, a tasty little treasure, perhaps something that he'd hoarded and saved until this moment. My grandson wasn't just giving me chocolate, he was giving me love. How could I possibly turn this down?
"That looks so good I'm gonna have to eat it." Cookie-boy's eyes lit up. I reached out and scraped the chocolate kiss off his palm. "Hmmm, this is going to be so good." I held the sodden mess up between us as his eyes tracked my every movement.
"Ah, are you sure you don't want it?" I asked hopefully. "You're a good boy and you can have it if you want."
"You eat," he said proudly. "You eat, pah-pah."
I sighed. "Ok, climb up in my lap while pa-pa eats the tasty goody." He clambered onto my lap, all elbows and knees as only a little boy can be. "Eat da candy, pah-pah." He looked gravely at me. "Tastee."
I peeled the crumpled foil back , exposing the remnants of the chocolate kiss. I gingerly picked pocket lint off the wrapper, lifted it to my mouth and carefully scraped as much candy off the tin-foil as possible, meanwhile spitting bits of foil and lint into the palm of my other hand.
"Good?" Cookie-boys's eyes had never left my face.
I licked my lips and smacked. "Very good. You're a good sweet boy, aren't you?" He nodded proudly, eyes shining with pleasure. I ruffled his dark curls and kissed him on the temple, leaving a smudge of chocolate. "Thanks for the goody. Now you go and play for a while, ok? Pa-pa's gonna wash his hands"
He climbed out of my lap and stumped happily off while I surveyed the chocolaty tin-foil, the spit-covered lint, my hands coated with Hershey's kiss residue. When I became a grandpa I expected stinky diapers, spilled milk, broken dished and clutter everywhere—that's just part of being a grandparent, but who knew eating candy would be such a chore?