Rory and Sarah come in with the grandson. He is asleep in his car seat but the minute Rory sets it on the floor, the boy opens his eyes and sees me. He looks briefly surprised and then this time he recognises both me and the house right away. He looks quickly round to see his parents are both there, and thus reassured, he smiles his welcome at me.
He is a child who loves to eat and is lusty for life. He knows – he has smelt, and he has seen his parents eat – that this is a place where food is to be got, and he looks at me and hopes that I will give him some. Not yet, I reply silently, not yet, but soon.

At this point in his life, before he has learned to conceal his thoughts, it is easy to follow his thinking. Mostly it has to be said it is along the lines of: – I’m hungry; I’m not comfortable; when are they going to feed me; where’s my mother; am I never going to be fed; why are they putting me to lie down when I’m not tired; can I eat it; this is a new thing; that smells good to eat; here’s my daddy come to play with me; I’m hungry again; here’s somebody I saw before; they’re putting me in my chair which hopefully means I’m going to be fed; I want my mother; FEED ME NOW!

His mother feeds him out of a bowl. His mouth comes out to meet the spoon like a baby bird’s beak out of the nest. We all assure him that broccoli and sweet potato mash is just as good as scones, warm from the oven, spread with yellow butter and dark blackcurrant jam but he does not believe us. (He is nobody’s fool, this young Armstrong.) But he is good-natured, and munches his way through the mixture methodically, only occasionally pulling a doubtful face.

Afterwards, we play. He can roll easily on both sides. He can lift his bottom and move his knees, and he can raise his whole upper torso on his arms from the waist up, but in spite of valiant efforts – going red in the face with trying – he cannot yet do both together.

When you hold out your fingers, he grasps them, and when you say, ‘Up’, he pulls with all his might. He is pleased to be ‘Up’ and when you say, ‘Down’ and lower him gently back to the floor, he is not pleased. He is a glorious, fleeting reminder of other men whom I have loved, and as handsome a fellow as each of them. He calls to mind for just a moment here and there his great grandfather, his grandfather, his father and his great uncle – and no doubt also men less well known to me in other reaches of his antecedents, so that watching him is like looking at a whole history of our lives and families.

Oh tender grandson, you boy of our blood, may your love of life and urgency of desire remain with you for all of your days. May your journey be long and safe at the last. Blessed be every breath you take, and good fortune shine upon you and on every person who ever renders you aid.

The citadel that is my heart, formerly so well defended, has been stormed again. I might as well fling its gates wide open.


About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

6 Responses to FEED ME NOW

  1. Sheena says:


  2. adhocannie says:

    He is, isn’t he? Thank you.

  3. Moira McNair says:

    Having just come back from a day with my granddaughter, I so know what you mean!

  4. nan says:

    A handsome, lively boy. He will be happy to read and know how passionately and how tenderly he is loved.

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