Grandmotherhood · Winnie and Olive

Oh, Olive


Recently our daughter and her family came to visit us while Kevin and I are at our cabin in northern Wisconsin. (Just a refresher, Maria is married to Jared and they have three girls: Winnie – 5, Olive – 3 and Molly – 3 months.) It’s been a couple of years since they were here, so Winnie had some memories of the place, but not Olive, as she was just a baby on her last visit. Even though Olive has flown before she had an interesting perspective on the whole experience of traveling by airplane.
First of all, though, you’ve got to understand the two personalities of the two oldest girls. Winnie loves everyone and everything immediately and without reservation. She’ll tell you you’re beautiful and hug you and give her life for you as soon as she meets you. Maria has had to make up stories about how ant poison doesn’t actually kill the ants . . . (“They just taste it and they don’t like it so they move on to someone else’s house”) . . . because, not only does she love every person on the planet, she also loves and cares for every animal as well. Bugs must be rescued and set free rather than squashed. And let’s also include inanimate objects in her realm of lovable things, ‘cuz . . . . oh, who knows why, just because she has so much love to give it extends to anything that gets in her path, living or non.
Now, Olive, on the other hand, isn’t so free with her affections. You have to earn her love and trust and, by gum, she’ll make you earn it. While Winnie is busy loving the world and attempting to either go home with strangers or invite them all over to play at her house, Olive is close to her Mom’s side eyeballing that same stranger and will gladly tell him/her to “not look at her.” She has no trouble speaking her mind, a quality I wish I had honed better in my 54 years. But a 3-year-old doesn’t have much tact, so it often comes across as quite blunt, which can cause her sweet, kind mother to roll her eyes on many an occasion and say, “Oh, Olive.”
So, on with the story, now that you know these girls a little better. Olive knew she was “going to Maga & Grandpa’s cabin” when she got on a plane a couple of weeks ago. Well, imagine it from a 3 year old’s point of view. She’s going to the cabin. Her whole family is on the plane going to the cabin. There are a lot more people on that same plane, which she knows is taking her to the cabin. She thought EVERYONE on the plane was going to the cabin! Mortified at the thought of so many people she didn’t know from Adam going with her, was a horrible predicament. When she inquired about this, Maria reassured her these folks were, indeed, not all going to the same place as she was. Whew. Well, in perfect Olive form, she took in upon herself to inform the other travelers that they were NOT going to the cabin. Complete with pointed finger and furrowed brow. Just in case there was any question. I’m picturing this scenario: Olive: “YOU’RE not going to the cabin!” Random traveler: (Hands up in a “don’t shoot” position) Nope. I’m not going anywhere NEAR the cabin! Please, can I just get past you? I promise I won’t even look at you!” Olive stares him down for a second, lowers her finger and says, “Move along.” Oh, Olive.
I have to add this, though: When Olive loves you, she’s all in. If you pass inspection and are allowed into her inner circle, you are privy to one of the sweetest people on earth. The last night they were with us, we were all playing outside in the yard. Olive’s shoe came off and I was helping her get it back on. I knelt down in the grass and she wrapped her arms around me, laying her cheek on the top of my head, and she said in a sweet voice, “You’re my great Maga.” Skiiiiiiiiiiiiiid!! Stop. Right. There. My internal organs turned completely to mush and I was in hog heaven. Her hugs and smiles may not be as prevalent as her older sister’s but man, they pack a punch! They can leave a grandma breathless and saying with a sigh, “Oh, Olive.”

Olive roasting marshmallows