The Visitor

My tiny family was in Aruba enjoying the sand and surf last Spring. We were there with my beautiful 10 month old grand-daughter. If you are a grandmother you know that when you are invited to vacation with your children and grandchildren, you’re the built-in babysitter.
My husband and I didn’t mind. My petite Natalie was a lovely baby and she took two-hour naps a day, so it was not hard. In fact, we just loved minding her on the beach or at the pool. My daughter and her husband were with us, and sometimes not.
One night we gave my daughter the okay to be away longer than usual. They wanted to go on a sunset cruise and then out to dinner afterwards. After the death of my son, my husband and I don’t socialize much. Having to just jabber and cuddle with a baby was just our speed. No stress, no small talk, no expectations.
We pushed the stroller around the complex looking for a convenient place to park the baby and have a bite to eat. We settled on the pool bar since it was rather empty and we could sit in a shady corner. As soon as we sat down, Natalie awoke and she joined us. My husband and I sat across from each other and Natalie was on the end of the rather long table.
Once our meal came, she was grabbing at the food and half went on the ground and half in her mouth. She had quite a menagerie of birds big and small surrounding her high chair, eating her scraps. One large black bird with beady yellow eyes had arrived when Natalie woke up. It decided to sit across from the baby at the other end of the table. This bird sat and twittered and whistled but did not make a move to eat anything on the table or on the patio floor. We wondered just how long he hold out before he would start picking at all the crumbs.
Chatting like mad, this black bird did not move from his seat on the backrest of the chair until we finished our meal, paid the check and put Natalie in the stroller. Then it hit me. It was Natalie’s uncle Robert who had come for a visit.

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