Ceci is the granddaughter that spent a whole day with me out in my beloved canyons the summer before last. I am still amazed that she would enjoy hanging out with me. Among other things, I took photographs of her next to some of my favorite petroglyph panels.
Later, back in my office, I created a small petroglyph for her as a souvenir of the day. I scratched two stick figures upon a small, flat rock. They were meant to represent the two of us. One figure is larger than the other. They are holding hands. The smaller figure has a series of short, horizontal lines across the lower legs. They represent the wild, striped stockings she wore with her pajamas in the evenings at our house.
Our son and daughter-in-law and family have been here for a few days, on their way to Idaho to leave the older ones at school. While they were here, Ceci sang for us a couple of times. I admit that I am speaking as a biased grandfather, but her voice is just wonderful. She sang at American Idol competitions in San Antonio, and Houston.
She was singing my favorite of her songs, a sultry, pleading love song, when I reached for a napkin to dab at the tears in my eyes. Barbara was reaching for the same napkin at the same time so I tore it into two pieces and we each wiped at our tears. I said to Barbara, “I think I’m in love.”
Ceci has reserved time at a recording studio so that she can make a CD of her singing. I told her that I would give her $500 for a CD. She protested that she would just give me one. I told her that it was okay, that I would buy one for $500 and she could give me one for free.
Our son is a fluent speaker of Spanish and has gone along with his wife in speaking mostly Spanish at home. I think it is accurate to say that English is the second language of their children. All of their children, except Joshua, have Spanish names. Cecilia took voice lessons in Chihuahua and sings some beautiful songs in Spanish.
You can see why it is so difficult to let such a treasured daughter leave home. I saw Ileana with tears in her eyes and told her of the beautiful ballad that says, “The day we said our first ‘hello’ began our last ‘goodbye.’” I said that goodbye is built into hello. I said that when a mother takes a new infant into her arms and looks into its tiny face and speaks a tender, “Hello,” that goodbye has already begun.
Of course, what I had to say did not help the situation. I might have made it worse by drawing Ileana’s thoughts back to when she first said, “Hello” to the newly-born Cecilia.
Years ago, my son and I took little Joaquin ice fishing with us. The holes in the ice were too small for a child to fall through, but little Joaquin stepped in one. He was wet and shrieking, “Porque no me quidaste?” (Why weren’t you watching me?) which is what his momma would demand to know.
That is one of the worries in Ileana’s mind as Cecilia goes away to school: “Who is going to watch over her, to protect her from the icy water?”