She says, with tears in her eyes, that he is unforgettable. I can tell that she loves Calvin. She tells me that he reminds her of our mother, something that I’ve thought before numerous times, although he’s got his father’s and grandfather’s clear blue eyes.

She's here to help and to learn and perhaps one day to watch our boy so Michael and I can get away for a night or two.

Her patience is long, longer than mine of late, enduring my grumpy cussing and sharp words, enduring Calvin’s hair pulling and occasional shrieking, his stubborn refusal to walk where we want him to go. In a swift move to avoid a catastrophic shit storm she grabs a wet washcloth and scoops up a handful of loose stool oozing out the top of his diaper and onto his pants, shirt and highchair and onto my knee. “Jeez, Caron,” I say, most impressed with her speed, finesse of the cloth and utter lack of repulsion.

Later, she gets on the phone with Mom, who lives three thousand miles away.

“I need you,” Mom says to her, and asks when she’ll be visiting.
“In a couple of weeks,” Caron replies, giving Mom her standard answer of hope, the endorphins of which will last in Mom’s brain for hours even as the memory of those same words fades.
“Goodie, goodie,” Mom pipes in a gravelly voice.

She hands the phone to me and I joke and quip to make Mom laugh while Caron plays with Calvin in the jumper. I ask Mom how the weather is and she does her best to tell me, “The windows ... the things are up ... and I can see there’s white up there.” I ask her if it is cloudy and she says, brightly, something like, “That’s exactly ... you know what it is,” and it’s clear that she knows and appreciates that I get what she is trying to say.

We say I love yous a couple of times over and as I hang up the phone I wonder, as I often do, if it might be the last time I’ll hear her tender voice.

Calvin is giggling in the jumper, wantonly pulling Caron’s hair. Before the moment is lost I grab my camera and snap a few, the results of which somehow remind me of my childhood days with Mom. And then I see a glimpse of my boy's smile and forget about my frustrations and lack of patience and think, like she, how truly unforgettable he is.

Calvin and Caron