Thursday, December 22, 2005


He tells me like this:

I hold her on my chest and talk to her. Everybody thinks that babies don’t understand what you say to them, but they do. They aren’t really sleeping. If you watch their eyelids, you can see their eyes move when you start talking. I did that with Rosa, too. It makes a bond. And I tell Rosa, “We have to look after this baby, you and me. Come sit with Poppa and we’ll hold her.”

He can’t believe that people are so thoughtless and stupid around Rosa, who is only two years old and granddaughter number one. Her Aunts come to visit and sweep past Rosa to Estrella’s crib, without a word to Rosa. She stiffens her little back and turns it to them, crosses her arms across her chest. They are offended. Why is she being such a spoiled little girl? He picks her up and holds her and admonishes the rest of them.

‘What do they expect when they act like she isn’t there? Why do they tell her that ‘big girl’ stuff’? Why don’t they get it? They say, ‘Now you aren’t the baby anymore,” and I tell her, “You’re Papa’s baby.” I never pick Estrella up in front of Rosa without including her.”

Lately, when I ask him what his plans are for tomorrow, or the weekend, his face lights up and he says, I’m going to play with my granddaughters.

Last year, when it looked like aggressive prostate cancer might make for a truncated future, he decided that he would stay around for them. For his daughter and sons, his granddaughters. His PSA, was in the double digits then. Now, inexplicably, it’s a better than average 1.5. And although there are other indications – sooner or later it will be cancer, sooner or later, the doctors say, it will spread viciously and fast, right now, he’s healing himself, as he has always done, by loving children.