Ten Perfect Minutes

We’d just finished a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, the turkey juicy and tender, the cranberry sauce filled with sweet chunks of apple, the carrots aromatic with five-spice. It was our first holiday together since Corona struck, and I think each of us, some more consciously than others, was grateful for this time together. The conversation had ranged from recipes to my granddaughters’, ten and eight, taste in music. The warmth from the wood stove relaxed us, the overhead lights, a warm yellow, created a halo above us.
Sometime in the past year or so, both Amelie and Poppy have become entranced with the popular music scene, including who got Grammies this year and who didn’t. A year and a half older than Poppy, Amelie seems particularly star struck, and whenever she can convince a parent to loan her their phone, she walks around in a daze.
Last year, Amelie was a little girl. Now, at ten, she seems to me a full-fledged teenager, sarcasm, head tosses and sneers included. I blame it all on Covid, when home all day long, she spent more time in front of screens than ideal, and absorbed a heavy dose of popular culture. Poppy absorbed a great deal as well, but she’s retained her sweet innocence. She too loves Taylor Swift, but that attraction hasn’t transformed her into a child beyond her years.
I don’t know how it came about, but once we had finished the last bites of our rustic apple pie, we all agreed to listen to Taylor Swift’s “Ten-Minute Song.” The girls were thrilled as they watched their parents, Stephen and me settle back into our chairs to take it all in.
I walked through the door with you/The air was cold/But something about it felt like home somehow/And I, left my scarf there at your sister’s house/And you’ve still got it in your drawer even now, Taylor Swift began, the girls mouthing the words and moving to the rhythm.
And for the next ten minutes, we all listened, as we watched Amelie and Poppy, looking far away and dreamy, swaying and mouthing every single word. My eyes moving back and forth between the two girls, I felt a peacefulness wash over n me, like a warm, fragrant breeze. Lost in Taylor Swift, each girl looked beautiful. Their lips full and red, their skin smooth and creamy, their eyes sparkling–Poppy with her perky bob, and Amelie with her thick, wavy tresses falling over her shoulders and down her back.
Wind in my hair, you were there, you remember it all/Down the stairs, you were there, you remember it all/It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well.
From first to last words, we all listened. None of the adults moved, all of us enchanted with the girls and their enchantment. What more could I want than this? I thought. This moment, this family, these granddaughters? This perfect moment?

Chateau Wall


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