The first time I met Tim Bray, I told him that my daughter Elena slept each night with a picture that he had taken and posted on his webpage of the most perfect rose.
She loved that picture – it was the most perfect expression of her favorite color: yellow. I had seen it one morning and printed it out for her. You never know how special something might be to a child. She wanted it to be the first thing she saw in the morning so she slept with it beside her pillow until it was crumpled and not quite so beautiful.
It might have been the first thing she wanted to see in the morning, but she had an even more valuable picture that she wanted to be the last thing she saw before she went to bed each night. She had a picture of herself and her great-grandfather which she studied each night and then carefully placed under her pillow or on her night stand.
Kim’s maternal grandfather was 98 when he died and he and Elena had a special kinship. He died when she was two and a half and yet she talked about him all the time. His presence never seemed to fade for her. She had specific memories that she would recount and then sigh and say “I miss great grandpa.”
And so she slept with this special picture.
When I would go in to say good night she would show me the picture. Mostly she said, “that’s great-grandpa.” Sometimes she’d say, “that’s me and great-grandpa.”
I never told her the truth. Perhaps I should have said to her “no it’s not. That’s a picture of your cousin Elizabeth and your great-grandfather.”