I knew she'd like it the moment I saw it. Joe and I had gone shopping for some fun games to bring on our vacation. I wanted games for laughing and games for learning. The laughing game we picked out right away. It's this pirate in a barrel, you stick in swords until you prick the pirates bum and he flies out of the barrel. It's hysterical and really, though it says it's for four year olds, wildly funny. Ruby took to it right away. Every time the pirate shot into the air she screamed with delight. We were playing the game.
Earlier we had checked with Mike and Marissa about their plans on the day we all leave. Two friends were planning on coming up and joining us for breakfast and we wanted to be sure they'd still be here, not leaving early. They assured us that they weren't in a rush to get back. Ruby listened to this conversation with fascination. She asked Joe, with no humour in her voice, 'You have friends?'
We both found the question very, very funny. Joe assured Ruby that we did indeed have friends. Then she wanted to know all about Belinda and Susan and we answered her questions. She was hoping that they were coming the next day because she was deeply curious about who these people were who were our friends. It was almost that she thought that our social world wasn't much bigger than her and her family.
As we were playing the game she asked me if my friends were in wheelchairs too. I told her that, no, neither Belinda or Susan used a wheelchair. 'Are you going to play this game with your friends?' she asked, sticking a sword into the barrel. 'I'm playing with a friend right now,' I said. Her eyes widened, 'Who?' she asked.
'Why, I'm playing with you and you are my friend,' I explained.
She looked at me gravely as she considered this new definition of our relationship, 'We're friends?' she asked unsure of this. I don't think she'd ever paused to think of who Joe and I are in her life. We are not related to her in the traditional sense even though she treats us and we treat her like grandparent and grandchild.
Finally she said, 'That's good. We're friends.'
Then, after the pirate had leapt from the barrel she asked, 'Are your friends little girls too?'
That struck me funny on so many levels but I simply said ... no, no, I don't think I'll tell you what I said.