On a bookshelf in our den I keep an old, faded photo, yellow with time. It is a photo of great importance to me, although I look at it infrequently. It is my parent's wedding photo. They are young, happy, long before the divorce. Standing with them are their parents. They are dressed in all of their finery. To my knowledge it is the only photo with all of them together.
I have taken flack from both of my parents for displaying their wedding photo. But it's not about their defunct marriage. It's about the people. In that photo are all of my parents, grand or otherwise.
Today while playing, Billy went over to look at the digital picture frame that sits next to the old wedding photo. Then he looked at the photo and pointed directly at my maternal grandfather. "Granddad!" he said matter-of-factly.
I have never referred to this man by that name. To me he was simply Paw. I grew up in his house and was as close to him as I am with my parents. This is the benefit of having three generations under one roof. There is a very special bond when the grandparent is around full time. I think of him often. But, honestly, I rarely speak of him now.
I have also never talked to Billy about who is in the photo. Speaking of long gone relatives seems a bit over the head of a one-year-old. We're still working on things like eating with a fork. So, he should have no knowledge of who is in the photo other than by mistake.
Daddy suggested that maybe he thought the man in the photo was Grandpop and he said the wrong name too. I guess this could be so. But Paw is wearing thick-rimmed glasses in the photo and Grandpop doesn't need glasses. Also, the two men look nothing alike, except for the receding hairlines. Perhaps he thinks it is his grandfather (Daddy's dad). At least he wears glasses. But Billy has only met him twice and I doubt would recall him by name.
I will probably never know if it was simply a mistake or if he somehow knows who Paw is. But I would like to think that maybe, just maybe, his namesake is watching over him. I hope so.