I stepped out into the chilly, but not cold air, pulling on my coat to meet Victor at the steps as he came charging off the bus. "Back up a step! Back up a step!" he asked and patiently I backed up one to wait for him to come up the driveway. He told me about his day a little as he walked, then we stopped to empty the mailbox which was quite full.
As I pulled out coupon mailers and other junk, two red envelopes slipped out and I couldn't help the little grin that crossed my face. My grandmother always sends a little something by mail for us every year and there were the kids' cards today, each one with their names and the address typed on Gram's old typewriter. Gram was a secretary for twenty-five years, starting work when my grandfather divorced her when she was 60 and 'retiring' when she was 85. She still worked part-time sometimes, or went in to help out until about two years ago when she was 86.
Gram just had major surgery in October to remove an ovarian cyst and my mother took a leave of absence to take care of her. She's had some ups and downs since, though she is by and large recovered and just as chipper and feisty as ever. Still, I wasn't sure if she'd feel up to cards this year, so it's a happy thing to find those bright, holiday envelopes in the mail.
I opened Vic's for him and we sat and read the card and I told him all about who it was from. His face lit up with a smile for the nice words inside and for the green bill that meant he could go over to the store to pick out whatever he wanted.
Another chilly walk across the back yard and the parking lot and we stepped into CVS, walked down the glittering holiday aisle, stuffed full of cheap gifts, candy and seasonal decor. Vic didn't even hesitate and went straight for the remote controlled cars that he's been ogling for the last few weeks since they were put out on display. He picked out a shiny red one, of course and hugged the box to his chest, looking up at me with rosy cheeks and gleaming eyes.
A short trip around through other aisles led to a chocolate bar joining the car and I picked up some snacks and some more milk to re-plenish our dwindling supply. At the counter, Victor proudly stacked his purchases up on the counter and held his twenty out to the lady. "This is my money from my Nana!" he said loudly and beamed up at her. She talked to him about what he was buying and counted out his change carefully so he'd know how much it was. "I'm going to /save/ that," he said with a big shit-eating grin and couldn't help but laugh as I nodded. "Good idea to save up for something else." He's got a date with his piggy bank later to put that change away.
In the meantime, he's sitting on the floor with his car in his lap, still in the box until his dad gets home to help him put it together. Me, I'm enjoying chocolate with my feet up and hoping we get to drive up to see Nana so we can say thank you in person.