It was a warm, sunny fall day with just a hint of rain—much too nice a day to be indoors—so the families were visiting out in the yard. Mommy was chatting with Grandma and Auntie Sarah, Daddy was conversing with Grandpa, the brothers and their cousins were zooming up and down the long gravel driveway on bikes and scooters, and 22-month old Charlotte was bored. Nobody was paying attention to her! Furthermore, her feet hurt!

“Mommy! Owwwwie!” She stamped her wee feet in their sparkly shoes.

Mommy explained that although Charlotte’s feet had grown too big for her sparkly shoes, she had insisted on wearing them.

“Wait here,” said Auntie Sarah. She disappeared into the garage, reappearing shortly with a large cardboard box full of her girls’ outgrown clothing. Pushing aside armfuls of frilly dresses and colourful leggings she surfaced triumphantly, waving a pair of tiny, bright pink Croc sandals.

“The girls loved these,” she said. “I think they’re just the right size for Charlotte.”

“Off,” said Charlotte, sticking one wee sparkly foot into the air.

Off went the sparkly shoes. On went the Crocs. Off went Charlotte down the driveway in her new pink shoes. Off went Grandma in hot pursuit.

Charlotte paused to admire her new pink Crocs, lifting first one foot, then the other. She wiggled her toes. She hopped up and down. She walked a few steps, then ran the way all toddlers do, with impressive arm-pumping and a good deal of lateral motion but little actual forward progress.

She made a beeline for a large, tempting puddle. Grandma got there first, steering her back on course down the driveway. Charlotte veered back to the puddle, clearly determined to christen her new shoes. Grandma knew there was no point in trying to reason with a determined toddler, so she tried a secondary tactic: distraction.

“Oh look, there go the boys on their bikes! Let’s show them your new shoes.”

This suggestion inspired Charlotte to abandon the puddle and charge at top toddler speed toward the public road where the boys were messing around on their bikes. Grandma got there first.

Grandma and Charlotte walked hand in hand down the quiet rural road, trailing after the boys, who were waiting impatiently at the stop sign at the corner. Not a great distance for grown-up legs to cover, but a considerable trek for short ones. Every few yards it was necessary to pause and admire the new pink Crocs.

The boys at the corner were waving and calling out “Hurry, Grandma! Come and see what we found!” What could it be? An interesting rock? A dime? A frog?

No rock, no coin, no amphibian. A rainbow! A glorious ribbon of colour, arching across the firmament and disappearing into the clouds.

Grandma lifted Charlotte into her arms and pointed skyward. “Look, sweetie—a rainbow!”

A puzzled expression crossed Charlotte’s features, wrinkling her button nose. Suddenly her face lit up with delight. Her arm shot up, finger tracing the arc.

“RAIN-bow!” she cried.

“Yes, Charlotte! What a pretty rainbow.”

“RAIN-bow! PIT-ty!” Her finger drew the rainbow again.

“See? It goes right across the sky.”

“RAIN-bow! Kye!” The finger sketched another arc.

“Look at all the colours.”

“RAIN-bow! COL-lows!”

Charlotte struggled in Grandma’s arms. “Down!” she said. Grandma obliged, smiling fondly as her granddaughter gazed up, transfixed, at the slowly fading rainbow.

“GAM-ma!” She paused dramatically. Up went the arm. “RAIN-bow! GAM-ma!” Another dramatic pause. “RAIN-bow! Kye! GAM-ma!” More drama. “RAIN-bow! COL-lows! GAM-ma!” Again with the pausing. “RAIN-bow! PIT-ty!”

“Yes, dear, isn’t it lovely? Now it’s time to head back. See? The rainbow’s going bye-bye, the boys have already gone bye-bye, and it’s starting to rain. Bye-bye, rainbow!” Grandma waved enthusiastically. Charlotte waved—a trifle less enthusiastically—but she took Grandma’s hand, and they started up the road. After a few steps, however, she pulled away and trotted back to the corner.

Up went the arm. “GAM-ma! RAIN-bow!”

“Yes, dear. But see how pale the rainbow is growing? The rainbow is tired. It needs to rest. The rainbow is going back to its home in the sky, to sleep on a fluffy white cloud.”

“RAIN-bow home? RAIN-bow seep?” Charlotte gravely considered these new concepts.

“You got it, sweetie. Nighty night, rainbow. Pleasant dreams.” Grandma blew the rainbow a kiss. Charlotte threw a kiss in the general direction of the rainbow.

Off they started once more. This time they made it a couple of yards further before Charlotte broke away and ran back to the corner.

Up went the arm. “GAM-ma! RAIN-bow!”

Grandma picked Charlotte up and headed down the road. Little eyes gazed wistfully back over Grandma’s shoulder.

“Let’s go tell Mommy about the rainbow,” said Grandma, brightly.

Charlotte thought this over.

“RAIN-bow,” she said softly, with a contemplative smile. Then the wee pink thumb went into the mouth, the wee blonde head nestled into Grandma’s shoulder, and the new pink Crocs bumped gently against Grandma’s leg all the way back to Auntie Sarah’s house.

Jacqui Graham
Jacqui Graham
Jacqui Graham has six grown kids and eight delightful grandkids age 6 months to 11 years. If she had known how much fun grandkids would be, she would have had them first!